We seem to be constantly at war with time here in the West, there’s so little of it in the day, and so few days in the ledger for our lives. At our backs we always hear, Time’s winged chariot hurrying near. We can’t decide if we love or loath it. But our obsession leads us to strap time gauges to our wrists and wave our filofaxes around as if they were the Good Book. We flood our bodies with caffeine and our environments with artificial light. Come on people! Squeeze out every drop!
I do think that if whoever it was that invented time were to show up, we’d say ‘well it’s all right for you, you’re impervious, you’re unimpeachable’, and if there was a glimmer for a split second that he weren’t, we’d rig a show trial; tick-tock his head; pin him to the clock face and nail down his hands. ‘Three, six, nine o’clock and time for bed’, we’d say. ‘Remind us of our mortality will you? Well try it on for size; try tasting the inside of a tomb’. But then time’s creator would never lay himself open to such an onslaught, surely? Never himself become vulnerable to time, to the curse of ‘your days are numbered’. Or would he? I suppose that’s what we’re waiting to find out during Advent.
But we don’t want to wait do we? That’s time wasted. And to wait is to accept we are powerless and to acknowledge our mortality. We are a breath; our days a passing shadow. And no one wants to square up to that old chestnut. Not to mention that to wait is also to accept that only God is truly powerful and eternal. For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. He is God and we most certainly are not.
But should we choose to force ourselves to wait, to grit our teeth and try on this discipline, perhaps we might experience God’s gracious ‘now’ which outstrips past, present, and future. Perhaps we’d experience in our persons the advent of his likeness in our members; a certain transparency to an everlasting glory.