The River of Timeby Rev. Dr. Amy Chilton on 08/31/23
This morning when I stepped outside to walk the dog, one of the neighbor girls was walking to her first day of kindergarten - with grandparents, dad, and older sister escorting her. Tomorrow my daughter starts her senior year in high school. How is it possible that she is no longer the 5-year-old going to her first day of kindergarten in the momma-made sundress?
Time can be cruel sometimes - stretching out until our fatigued bodies stage protest while simultaneously rushing past so fast we can’t catch our breath. Other times it can be a balm - after all, it supposedly heals our wounds. It’s hard to know how to respond to the passing or stalling of time - should I be happy that my child is taking this next step or sad that all the previous steps are done?
Being present in the moment takes wisdom in responding to the uneven passage of time - or perhaps it is the key to smoothing those different speeds out!
In the Hebrew Scripture book of Ecclesiastes, the “teacher” reminds us that time encompasses the whole breadth of the human experience:
There is a time for everything,
a season for every purpose under heaven:
a season to be born and a season to die;
a season to plant and a season to harvest;
a season to hurt and a season to heal;
a season to tear down and a season to build up;
a season to cry and a season to laugh;
a season to mourn and a season to dance;
a season to scatter stones and a season to gather them;
a season for holding close and a season for holding back;
a season to seek and a season to lose;
a season to keep and a season to throw away;
a season to tear and a season to mend;
a season to be silent and a season to speak;
a season to love and a season to hate;
a season for hostilities and a season for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, The Inclusive Bible)
The teacher goes on to remind their readers that God is present in all of those times. God is present when we begin and when we reach the end of our lives. God is present when we live through war and when we live through peace. God is present when our loved ones are near and when we have to let them go. Simply put: God is present through all the times, however they meet us.
So, this year, whatever time brings to you, I pray that you find your quiet center and whether time is racing or crawling, you know you are held in God’s heart. In that space, time doesn’t damage or harm.
For all of our new seasons and all of the seasons we see only behind us, God grant us the courage and grace to be present to where you are leading us today.