Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday's Essay - Considering the Time Change

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this message by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

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Image result for time changeEarly Sunday morning, while most of us are sleeping, an amazing thing will happen. Time itself will advance, and we’ll lose an hour. And because of that, this may be one of the worst early mornings of the entire year, at least it is for me. You see, I tend to work late on Saturday evening. In fact, sometimes I don’t get home until around 11:00 p.m. And if that’s not late enough, generally I haven’t eaten, which pushes my going to bed even later. And since I generally get to the church somewhere around 7:30 Sunday morning and we now have a Shichon that needs to take a business trip every day before my family regains consciousness, the six hours I usually get will be cut to five. Let’s just say after our 9:00 session meeting and our 11:00 worship service and our pre-scheduled 12:30 joint board meeting, I’m probably going to crash sometime before 2:30 Sunday afternoon. Of course, it won’t be as bad as it was a few years ago. You see, we bought a new clock that I didn’t realize automatically adjusts to the time change. And so, I did what I’d done for decades, and set the time ahead an hour before I went to bed. Let me tell you, that was a short night for this aging man. Let’s just say, the time change that occurs early Sunday morning isn’t something to which I look forward.

But there’s another change that we remember this time of year that’s way more important to me and I hope is important to us all. You see, when Jesus was crucified and was raised, time changed, but not just for us. It changed for the entire created order. You see, when our past was cleansed by the cross and our future secured by the empty tomb, we entered a brand new age.

Image result for crucifixion
And thanks to the crucifixion, in this new age, we can experience a new sense of freedom, because our past mistakes have been washed away. I mean, not only have they been forgiven, they’ve been cleansed so that what could be compared to a red stain has been washed so that it’s now white like snow. You see, that’s already happened, which means we’re no long anchored to who we’ve been or what we’ve done. At least in the sight of God, we’re new creatures, with new possibilities and opportunities, ready to become everything that we were created to be. And even though we never escape the avoidable need to separate good from evil or our natural tendency to assume that we have the necessary insight and wisdom to make that determination ourselves, we can trust that we won’t have to carry the eternal consequences of that arrogance. You see, the crucifixion moved us into an age in which we can look at our past with peace, knowing those things that can’t be changed won’t hold us back.

Image result for resurrectionBut this new age offers more than peace as we look backward. It also gives us hope as we look forward, and I’ll tell you why. Our ultimate destiny was revealed by the empty tomb, and the time of resurrection started when Christ was raised. And that’s certainly how Paul saw it. In fact, he described Jesus as the first fruit of the harvest to come. In other words, because Christ was raised, we can trust that we’ll be too. The time will come when God was cause us to rise into a new and a glorious world, one where the old order will be gone forever and where we’ll enter a time of perfect freedom, because we’ll no longer be bound to choose between good and evil. In this new creation, good will be only possibility. Now that’s on the way. And right now, we can live in the light of this future. By trusting that’s it’s coming, we can look forward with hope, believing that whatever might be happening to and around us, our future is secure. Since the resurrection, this is now the basis for our hope. And this is the age in which we live.

And that’s the other time change I was talking about. Of course, the one that’ll occur on Sunday morning, it’ll be reversed sometime in late October. As most Americans know, later in the year, we’ll retrieve our lost hour. But as it relates to the time that changed with the crucifixion and resurrection, there’ll be no falling back.

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