Monthly Article From the Pastor

Dear Friends,

As we journey into the New Year this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about time. Most of us think about time at moments when we’d like more of it. (“There’s not enough time!”) But…what is time itself?

According to biomedical scientist and professor Anne Marie Helmenstine, time is “the progression of events from the past to the present into the future.” Other scientists define it as “a measure of non-stop, consistent change in our surroundings, usually from a specific viewpoint.” We can’t see, smell, touch, hear, or taste time, but we can measure its passage. In the natural world, it only moves in one direction…into the future. (This is true even when driving in certain 1981 DeLorean automobiles…even “Doc Brown” can’t bring anyone into the past!) Unlike Hershey’s chocolate, wrapping paper, or cash, we unfortunately can’t store time when we feel we have too much of it, to use when we feel we don’t have enough of it.

Our brains are equipped to detect the passage of time. Yet it can seem to us to move faster or slower depending on what we’re experiencing. Time seems to move faster when we’re busy, especially when we’re doing something we like. It seems to move slower when we’re in danger or experiencing something else we don’t like, such as standing in line. (Time can feel like it STOPS for some of us if we’re standing in line at the post office.) As we age, time seems to move faster. The only way we could actually slow the passage of time would be to travel really fast. Time would nearly stop for us if we approached the speed of light. So…for some drivers on the interstate some days, maybe time actually does nearly stop…

But for most of us, all of the time, “time marches on.” It’s easy to think of that as bad news. It’s easy to imagine what life would be like if we could control time. We could speed it up while exercising, cleaning the bathroom, peeling potatoes, or doing our tax returns. We could slow it down while spending time with loved ones, reading a good book, or watching our favorite movie. If we could control time, volumes of material could be published suggesting how to best manipulate our time. It would give new meaning to a question many of us ask ourselves at the beginning of each year, “How can I best use my time this year?…”

Alas, though, controlling time isn’t reality. But our Christian faith is. And pondering time through the prism of faith transforms our relationship with it. In Christ, time, even in all its unyielding inflexibility, becomes a gift. For it’s the passage of time that reveals the growing, changing, and redeeming Kingdom of God…a new reality coming into being in this world, Jesus tells us, like a growing mustard bush (Mark 4:30-32). The unrelenting passage of time is the very thing God works through to reveal His beautiful plans for our lives. Each new day affords us a panoply of new opportunities to serve God and others here on earth, as the passage of time itself brings us closer to the day when we will receive our eternal reward. As Jesus says in one place, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24).

In the real world we can’t stop or reverse the passage of time, but through faith we can joyfully and gratefully embrace it, and live fully into it. We can use it wisely, like any other resource or gift God has given us. None of us knows for certain what joys and challenges will await us in 2023. We do know, however, that God will be there in it all, working for our eternal benefit. So, may God bless us as each of us, in faith, boldly and eagerly grasps hold of whatever the passage of time brings into our lives this year.
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Basile

Some of the Sources I Used:

Anne Marie Helmenstine. What Is Time? A Simple Explanation. November 26, 2019.

“Time.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Mon Nov 25, 2002; substantive revision Tue Nov 24, 2020.