Marking time (29-01-21)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot… …a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… …a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.(Ecclesiastes 3.1, 2, 4, 5)
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1. 15, 17)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22. 13)
One of the things I love about living in Walgrave is the sound of the church bells, marking off every quarter of an hour day and night. Having grown up in a village with church bells and several chiming clocks at home, there is something comforting and reassuring in the sound. The sound carries quite a distance too, so even if I am not wearing a watch, I usually have a fair idea of the time.
The beginning of our licensing service into the benefice in March 2019 was the first time our granddaughter, Melody (then two and a half) had heard a church clock strike. It struck eleven as the service began and twelve in the quietness as we began to take Holy Communion, so she had the full benefit of the longest chimes. Ever since, she has referred to them affectionately as ‘Grandad’s bells’!
In these days of continuing lockdown, it’s very easy for one day to roll into another with little noticeable difference. Time marches on. We feel uprooted and disconnected from family and friends, and this is certainly a time to refrain from physical contact. Daily Coronavirus updates with relentless numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and subsequent deaths only add to the general feeling of disorientation and despondency.
It’s good to remember that despite Covid-19, in Jesus all things still hold together. He is outside of time and sees the beginning from the end. He is the image of the invisible God, who has good plans to restore us and bring us renewed hope.
Why not mark the time with productive prayer whenever we remember. In the same way that we have clapped for the NHS at 8 pm, maybe give thanks for someone or something on each hour; pray for new possibilities at quarter past; pray for the sick, the dying and the grieving on the half hour; and pray for family, neighbours and friends we long to hug at quarter to. And may this be a pertinent reminder to us that the time will come when new plans as well as babies will come to birth, we will sow and plant once more, and we will laugh and dance and celebrate together.
Lord Jesus, we thank you that in you everything holds together, and renew in us fresh hope. Amen.