A friend of mine just returned from a three-week trip in
England, Germany, France and Italy. As he told me about his adventure, he said,
“The French and Italian cultures do time
differently than we do.” We talked for a while about the different ways
different cultures practice time, from hyper punctuality to chronically late.
Different cultures practice meal times differently, from long, slow meals, to
hurriedly inhaled energy bars and power drinks.
Different areas and cultures in the United States have
different rhythms and time practices. Some of those practices are climate
driven, by either extreme heat or cold. Other practices are light driven by
long periods of daylight or darkness. Business cycles with crucial deadlines or
production schedules determine where we spend our waking hours. And those who
travel for work must budget airport lines and delays.
The questions you can ponder in preparing for worship this
Sunday are: How do you spend your time? What are your healthy rhythms and when
do your rhythms and patterns get thrown out of sync? Who or what governs your
time? How does God figure in to the way you spend your time?
“Old” has changed for me. Old used to be my father. But now
I’m over his age when I thought he was old! An old building when I was growing
up in Minnesota was something built in the early 1900’s or late 1800’s, until
our family moved to Virginia where we saw buildings and sites from the 1700’s
and earlier. That was old.
When Martha and I took our first trip to Europe, and I had
the chance to visit churches built in the 1100’s and some as old as 900 AD, I
had a new appreciation for old. The stone floors of these sanctuaries were
polished by centuries of different feet.
Then I was able to take my first trip to Israel, and my
clock of old moved back into the BC era and beyond Jesus into the Old
Testament. Sites and geography dated thousands of years old. When we visited
Jericho, the guide told us that it was probably the oldest continually
inhabited city in the world, with evidence of human occupation back 10,000
years! Yikes! That’s old!
But then I spent some time with our own David Martin, who is
a geologist. He began to tell me about the formation of the Channel Islands and
the up-surging hills and fossils in our rock strata. Oh my! And I haven’t
talked with astronomers!!
We are measurers. We measure dollars, pounds, miles, and
inches. We establish goals and measure our progress formally and informally. A
word used often in the realm of measuring is “metrics.” What are the metrics we
use to measure….?
In the text for Sunday worship (Mark 12:28-34) Jesus used
very intriguing words for a teacher of the law’s response to him: “You are not far.” As you prepare for
worship on Sunday, what do you measure spiritually?