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2013-01-25 08.59.45

This morning as I pray, I can hear the tick-tock of the old clock that sits on the mantle above the fireplace. It’s been in my family for generations. When I was a kid, it was my job to wind it on Saturday mornings. Now that my parents, grandparents, and aunt are in heaven, there’s something comforting about hearing the gong of the chimes every hour, and the “ping” every time the big hand hits the 6. Comforting, but also sobering. Fragments of a hymn come to mind. “Time, like an ever flowing stream, soon bears us all away.” I’m the head of my family now. And with that comes big responsibility. Tick-tock. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” the Psalmist said.

I turned 52 a couple weeks ago.  The other day some young muscle hack at the gym told me that I was in great shape “for my age” and that I looked mid-forties. He thought it was a compliment. For me, it was another reminder that I’m well past the half-way point now. What am I doing with the time that I have? Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow isn’t here yet. All I have is right now. Tick-tock. It’s not just about being productive or accomplishing something significant. I know lots of people who are successful on both fronts who are miserable – so driven by achievement that they’ve sacrificed relationships and lost themselves in the process. Others drift through life aimlessly, with no sense of purpose at all.

Surely Christians measure significance and time differently.

We’re in Epiphany now – the season of light and revelation. The kingdom of God is at hand, Jesus insisted. According to St. Paul, today is the day of salvation. Disciples of Jesus are called to be fully alive and present to each moment, because the Lord is IN IT. Whether working, playing, or resting, we’re called to notice things that others might miss. Because each moment that we have is an opportunity… for relationship or hospitality or witness… for healing or insight or forgiveness or whatever else it is that the Lord may want to do in and through us. Tick- tock.

Truth is, In our fast paced, schedule driven, multitasking, iphone distracted, social media obsessed world, you and I are too often NOT present to the moments we’ve been given. Lord, have mercy. Or we spend our free time watching someone else’s dramatically scripted moments via reality television. Christ, have mercy. We can’t know what the rest of this day will hold for us. We know only that it is the day which the Lord has made for us to rejoice and be glad in. And that’s enough. In order to recognize who Jesus is for us and what He’s offering in any given moment, we’ll have to slow down. And pray more. And pay closer attention. But it is a transformative and hope-filled way to live. The time is now, the kingdom of God is at hand. Don’t miss it!


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