Saturday, 4 March 2017

A Meditation on Time

Lent is not only a season for reflecting on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, it is also traditionally a time to consider one’s own life and faith. The practice of giving something up for Lent is a sign and intention of our commitment to God, placing God before our own earthly desires and opening all of our life to God. By consciously denying ourselves things that make our lives easier, sweeter and more pleasurable, we focus more on the sacrifice Jesus made for the world. We become more aware of what we go through when we deny ourselves simple pleasures and what Jesus must have gone through during his resolute walk towards Jerusalem and the cross.

One of the most difficult things to give up is how we use time, how we typically cram a great deal of energetic activity and spinning, speeding thought into each waking moment. Today, as we pause for a few minutes, let us think about offering back to God the time God has graciously given to us.

A Meditation on Time

We are here today, sharing our lives, our time, with every other living creature on earth.

We live in time, and, to a large extent are ruled and governed by time, and yet, we worship a God who is outside of time, and we know ourselves to be citizens of eternity.

Sometimes, we experience time in a linear way: we live day by day, we have a past, we exist in the present and we look ahead to the future.

At other times, time seems to bend and curve, slow down, speed up, turn back: and it can feel as if we live more in the past, or we are so caught up in preparing for the future that we ignore the time we are given now.

We own time in different ways, with time for family and friends, time for work and time for ourselves, and sometimes we set time aside for God.

We allow ourselves time off.

At times we call ‘time out!’

Today, let us rejoice in the knowledge that the God who knows we live in time is able to be with us all the time.

This is the God who has seen our beginnings, who understands our present existence and who knows our endings.

With this God, our endings in time signal a new stage in our eternal life, where there is no ending.

And now we ask our God of grace to bless this time we have in time.

Amen.

We pray for your world and all that you have made.

We pray for all people and all those who do the work of Christ.

We pray for your Church, for wisdom, guidance, courage and mercy.

We pray for all those who suffer and who are in need, especially those known to us.

We pray for all those who grieve.

We pray for our work today, for any decisions we will need to take.

We pray for all those we love, that you would protect them and give them peace.

We pray that as individuals and with others we might further your kingdom on earth.

And we pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples:
Our Father …

May the God who created us and loved us even before we were in our mother’s womb, surround us with arms of love, give us a calm mind and breathe into our hearts and souls the peace that passes understanding.

Meditation on Time, original prayers and blessing by Christina Rees 2017

Christina Rees CBE was a member of General Synod for 25 years, and a founder member of Archbishops’ Council. She is a writer, broadcaster, communications consultant, and advocate for gender justice.

Posted by Christina Rees on Saturday, 4 March 2017 at 7:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: just thinking
Comments

If God calls us to dwell in eternity, outside of time, then isn't it fair to say, that outside the time parameters of our lives here on earth we are always with God in eternity, have always been, will always be, or basically just 'are' - in the constant now of God's eternal being and our own existence in that eternity?

In which case, though it is popular to view eternity around us and "ahead" of us - an eternity variously located in heaven or on a new earth - isn't it equally valid to consider our presence in that communion and eternity "behind us" and "before" our lives commenced on earth... or 'beyond' our lives' parameters, if you prefer not to use the word 'before'? Eternity is just eternity, beyond time, and consequently, if we conceive of an existence with God in eternity 'in the future', perhaps we also need to consider whether our souls (and bodies?) have always existed with God in eternity, in an eternal state.

In which case, the beauty and perfection we attribute to our 'future' lives 'in heaven' may also be attributes we always had in eternity with God.

Perhaps, rather than being born with Paul's concept of original sin, the result of a mythical woman's first act of disobedience, we are actually born with all the Original Beauty that our souls have always possessed, (or do always possess) in that eternity that is deepest life and being with God.

Perhaps, indeed, we are strangers in a strange land, always yearning for our eternal base, our home, our blessed household in the community of God, and its love and loveliness. Seen this way, each human soul is desperately precious and beautiful, even if we get hurt and harmed as we live in this world. Yet our original beauty is forever, our wound and pain and survival instincts things that block us from who we truly are and who we're constantly called to become again.

From everlasting to everlasting, I believe we have lived, and live, and will live with God. In contemplation, sometimes, this state of being in eternity - and God's sharing of consciousness and felicity - may be vivid and revelatory.

If we spend our time any way in Lent, I think we do well to spend part of it 'reconnecting' with God's eternity which is our own true home for ever.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 4 March 2017 at 9:55am GMT

Continuing a little...

If, as I believe, our eternity is found in God, sharing God's consciousness and awareness, drawn into household familial love, and becoming the whole of who we are in God...

Then perhaps we need to seek God's presence within ourselves, and draw towards God, who dwells in the innermost mansion - or cloistered garden as I like to conceive - of our souls. There God awaits us, and how often God must long for us to 'come inside' when we are without.

I think Lent can be a time to renew that bond, a bond of givenness and shared love.

Augustine spoke of how many years he was 'outside' the ways of his soul, and the true being of his soul. And yet, rather than think of God 'out there'... perhaps God was within the whole time, waiting, waiting patiently.

In so many ways, God longs for us to come home to ourselves. It may take years, or even a whole lifetime. And yet, God dwells in us. Indeed, as the scriptures say: in God we live, and move and have our being.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Sunday, 5 March 2017 at 9:03pm GMT
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