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Posts Tagged ‘time’

Today it was Kevin’s talk on the Virgin Birth. On why this matters so much. God coming to earth as a baby. God growing up with us. The seemingly impossible possible. God come to be with us. That means He cares. That means that all our random day to day routines and work lives matter to him. Jesus spent 15 years being a carpenter before he did anything else. He knows about the routine of work, he knows about being tired and sad. He knows about our situations. He has been here. The God of the heavens and the earth is so much more wonderful and strange than we give him credit for. The God of the universe didn’t abandon his creation. He stepped into the mess and did something about it.

That’s why tonight I fight the Sunday evening blues, the feeling that I must get the week of work over to get to the weekend. I fight it because tomorrow there is purpose and meaning in each moment. Tomorrow there is new mercy. Tonight as I sleep God stays awake, watching, doing things, getting up to stuff, and tomorrow morning we will wake up into a world where He is active and alive. Tomorrow is a day alive with possibility and opportunity. For some of us it needs to be endured and survived but it is not random or pointless, it will not be a waste of time. There is splendor in the ordinary of our lives. God cares about the to do list on my desk at work. Weird eh.

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Sadly this isn’t a post about the classic Cher song, sorry to disappoint. Tonight I had the somewhat dubious honour of doing a session at church on ‘wise and creative use of time’. (Gareth if you are reading this you may well be spitting your tea out in amusement, yes I did tell the story of my days watching west wing when I should have been, you know, doing some student work…). Anyway, my bad use of time aside, we pondered together the author of our days, the God who is in charge of all our time, who holds our times in his hand, and who has really fun stuff for us to do in it.

As part of that whole process I was pondering the things that we think will give us rest. When I am at work it’s easy to day dream of endless days in front of the tv, sometimes when I used to do student work I would give myself incentives of getting through the day to get to the treat of slobbing out on the sofa in front of the tv. Strangely enough it wasn’t satisfying, it made my day strange by making me want it to be over very quickly so I could get to the sofa, and at the end of the day I was left unsatisfied by the tv, it wasn’t restful. Now, sometimes watching tv is very fun and restful, I’m not an advocate of the stripped back lifes style. But I wonder. Do I really expect the tv to be my refuge? My rest? My hope? Hmm. Someone else should be those things, and will probably do a whole lot better job than the large box in my living room.

I guess there are two points here.

1. Am I wasting my day and the right now moments by constantly wanting the next thing? Am I wasting my weeks by living for the weekend and missing out on what God is up to in the present right now, where we can experience him?

2. Do I really think real rest can come from a box? What would life look like if tv and other distractions weren’t my refuge? How can God really be my rest and my refuge?

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It’s Monday morning. Monday morning in our house of communityness involves getting up (yes even in the unemployed state it is possible to get out of bed before 7am) and sitting in a room with 5 other sleepy people attempting to communicate with their Maker. That doesn’t involve a lot of chanting, wishing, spells and other things that the former sentence originally conjured up in my mind. We opened our mouths, talked and there you have it, we communicated with the unseen world. Which frankly is bizarre. The most constant battle in my mind this weekend has been with the seen and the unseen. If there is more to this world than is in front of my eyes, more that I can see, touch and experience right now then there are dramatic and life changing consequences to how I live my life on this planet.

I live in a culture that believes, more than ever, that we can have everything we want right now. Snap your fingers and behold, there you have it. I’m not sure when we bowed to this lie, when we lived so fast that we left ourselves behind. I live in culture that wants to experience everything right now, that derives meaning from all that we have experienced. (btw I’m not saying this as if it has only just occurred to me, obviously this is the case, I’m not offering out a new social commentary, merely picking up on the bleedin obvious in front of our eyes).

Time and our use of time is now a commodity, if you have the money time is there to be molded by you, influenced by you, you are in charge, nothing happens which we cannot control. We are our own lords and the thought that someone else might be in control, might be settling a different agenda is frankly a little ridiculous. Oh we pay lip service to this notion, but really, this is my life, my world. my time, my priorities, my agenda, my Saturday. And I’m wondering, what is so wrong with that? What is so bad about that? But does our lack of contentment, constant craving for more and more stuff, our refusal to be happy unless we have one more thing/relationship/job/high come from our problem with time? Do we really control our own time? And does that really bring the meaning, satisfaction and sense of wonder that we want it to?

But what if this is not our world? What if time wasn’t ours to play with, to master, to control, to manipulate and distort? What if all that is in front of my eyes isn’t what this world is about? What if there was someone else in charge? Would I want to follow them? What if they claimed to offer eternal time, time that goes beyond this world, time that offers life beyond our greatest fear?

I’m fighting with that notion right now. I want there to be more than this, but do I want that because I don’t have things that I really want right now? I don’t have a perfect house with a perfect relationship and a family on my doorstep. I cannot tell you how strong the ache is for some of this stuff. Part of me knows that there is more than this, that perfection can only be found beyond the grave, that we are waiting to be brought home. Part of me thinks these longings for perfection indicate that I am made for somewhere else, for a better world than this, for bluer skies, for deeper intimacy, for tangible joy. But am I just trying to make myself feel better about my lack of obvious things in this world? I have no job, I have no relationship, I have no house of my own, I have no discernible anchors in this world. And so is my longing for heaven a wish fulfillment? A way to deal with lack in this world? Or is it the natural desire for more? Built into me at birth from my knitter as he worked on me in the womb?

But there is this thought that makes me suspect my suspicions. What if I had those things, if I had family up the road who I could see each day, if I had a husband, kids, a lovely house of my own? I would still be me, I would still mess things up. The darkness would still be there, the pain would still be there, we would hurt each other and we would not be shielded from the brokenness of this world. I’m not saying this to prove that life is better without this stuff, it’s not a reason not to get married, have babies and buy a house. I’m not trying to justify my lifestyle to make myself feel better (well I probably am but that’s the way my brain works so go with it eh.) It’s just a warning to my soul to not long for perfection in circumstances but in something else.

And that is the question of this Monday morning. Is there more than this? Can I freely live in that knowledge being ok with not having all I want in this life? Is there more to this world than getting what I want all the time? Is it ok to be 30, not having anything you thought you might at this age? Is it ok to live for a time beyond this one and strike out for home deeply loving all around you and calling them to the journey? I want to, I want to, I want to. But these questions pull at me and drag me down again. I want to fly free from them, love well, accept the circumstances around me, trust in the One who has my times in his hands. I want to stand up and breathe the deeper, clearer air of Truth. This valley fog hangs so low at times.

(afterthought. which should not be an afterthought. “birds have nests, foxes have dens, but the hope of the whole world rests upon the shoulders of a homeless man”, there is someone who knows what this road is like…and I know, I have an amazing house, church family, friends who care, parents who love, I am ridiculously blessed.  It’s just what do you do with the questioning voice that wants more? Is that more just a reflection of our time and culture or is it a reflection that we were made for more, and that more is to be found in something other than immediate circumstances?)

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