Why is time divvied up into all the relevant portions? Centuries and decades and years and months and weeks and days and hours and minutes and seconds.
Of course there’s the importance of measuring time for recording purposes. But time has been measured before we had instruments to measure it with. Nature measures time through seasons, life cycles, tides and shifting sands. You can measure the age of a tree by counting the rings in a cross-section of its trunk, a horse by the length of its teeth.
Time propels us forward – the hands of the clock keep cycling, pushing us to the next and the next and the next.
I believe there is a spiritual reason for the measures of time locked within nature. Humanity has borrowed these calculations to construct the rigid framework we build our lives around. But perhaps we forget their more organic purpose.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The pattern of God’s love – of hope and forgiveness – is evident in the very fabric of our existence. Time declares the goodness of this God-of-fresh-starts, who is prepared to make all things new again as surely as tomorrow is a new day.
We are five days into 2015 and I am grateful for the three-letter word sandwiched in the greeting, “Happy new year!”
N. E. W.
Every new moment of our being-here declares the truth that God can make us new. He takes whatever past and present, however ugly, and gives us a fresh start.
In the book of Lamentations, which as the name suggests, is the scribblings of a tormented soul, we also find evidence of God. God making things new.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
As a mother of two littlies I am grateful of that saying, “Tomorrow is a new day!” As a wife I am grateful we adhere to the, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” maxim (most of the time…) to allow each day to be truly fresh. As a Christian I am grateful that God forgives, that my wrongdoing doesn’t preclude me from being made new again and again. It’s a gift we must allow ourselves.
I’m reminded of something T.S. Eliot wrote in Little Gidding:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
Eliot’s new-life vocabulary is strangely similar to a passage in the Bible that beckons people to come and accept God’s love.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
And the result?
Transformative. Just as a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon with wings, and as bright green shoots materialise from bushfire-ravaged landscapes.
First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday January 5, 2015.