Falling in Love with Time

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

My Dad sometimes calls time the Old Enemy. As in, instead of saying, “What’s the time?”, he might say, “How’s the Old Enemy?” Now, I have never really been a fan of military metaphors, particularly in Church. Thinking of our faith as a battleground, one in which we have to arm ourselves, where we may be called to rally around Christ‘s flag and defeat evil – it all leaves me a bit cold. But they say a picture paints a thousand words, and metaphors are certainly a really useful way to understand the world around us. Last time Dad spoke of his Old Enemy, it reminded me of a prayer used by Archbishop Desmond Tutu which warns us against falling in love with time. A strange idea, to fall in love with time, but a very powerful metaphor for allowing our thoughts to become too mundane. The prayer is called Disturb us, O Lord:

Disturb us, O Lord

when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord

when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land,
we shall find the stars.

In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Sunday‘s sermon spoke of the Bible as a sometimes messy history of humankind‘s relationship with God, and a place where we can go to explore where our own experiences of Him might fit in to this history. I especially like this perspective as, like Tutu’s prayer, it uses the language of adventure and exploration rather than of victory and defeat.

So let’s point our bows away from land, let’s strike out into unmapped territory, let’s not overfill our backpacks with possessions we won’t need on our journey, and above all, let’s not panic when we think we are lost. Because Christ is the captain of our ship, and God, the Good Shepherd, will always come and find us to show us the beauty of the stars which he flung into the sky.

Is that enough metaphor for one week? Probably. But as with my Dad’s Old Enemy reminding me not to be seduced by an outlook which shrinks around the already tried and already trusted things in life; a (metaphorical) hook can be used to always bring us back to what we find most important.

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