Thursday, January 1, 2015

It Just Keeps Linden Malki

When God created the universe, He also created Time. He made for us an earth that spins, creating light and darkness. He arranged the sun, moon and earth all in motion, which gives us day and night, seasons of the year, and a bonus: a moon to give us an awareness of this deceptively simple dance. He created us with bodies and minds that require downtime to refresh and reorganize. Even animals and birds have biorhythms based on time; probably the first alarm clock had feathers.
Some of the oldest artifacts we have of ancient people are time-related. Many ancient stone constructions and carvings have connections with astronomical time markers. Marking hours with sundials is a very old accomplishment; we find a mention of a shadow time-marking device at the Temple in Jerusalem about 700BC (2 Kings 20). Mechanical clockworks were invented about 1300AD, and the precision with which we can measure time has constantly improved. More and more, we depend on knowing what time it is.
We also find God using time markers to teach His people and remind them of the basics of their history and faith. The festivals of Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashona ("head of the year") and Yom Kippur are tied to the calendar and shape the life of the community. Over the years, other commemorations were added to the calendars. Our calendar is tied to a 5th century computation of the probable time of Jesus' birth; the holy seasons of Christmas and Easter are important markers not only in churches but in the wider culture as well.
The clock has just ticked over to a new hour, a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year. We live with the knowledge that time keeps ticking along, inexorably, and there is nothing we can do about it. What we've done is done; for good or bad, and we hopefully deal with the consequences. There are always consequences, good, bad, whatever. If we try to ignore them, they have tendency to crawl back out from under the rug and trip us up. We have been reading about Peter's experience with this: when he denied knowing Jesus during the events that led to the crucifixion the cock crowing was the trigger to his realization of his guilt. But he did acknowledge it, and rather than avoiding the issue, actively sought reconciliation and forgiveness. And we see him not long afterwards preaching the message of Jesus at the crowds in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost.
The ancient Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashona involves looking back and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, going into a new year. Our New Year holiday is a good time for us as well to learn from our failures and replace them with hope.

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