Time Bandits

There is a kid in every group that has sudden outbursts of seriousness. For me, it has been Will. Once in a while the joking and teasing give way to deep insight, especially if we are talking about the end of the world. “So, the Mayans stopped making notes after 2012! So What! My calendar doesn’t go any further than 2012. Calendars are cyclical. Maybe they figured someone would grasp the concept of cyclical by 2012!”

Time can bring out the serious side in many of us and bring out the crazy in others. Some feel time as a stressor, worried they won’t get to complete their to-do list or their bucket-list before running out of time. Some experience time as a task master, pushing them forward with no grace. Some feel time is rapidly clicking away and that Jesus is saddling up the horses of the apocalypse for next year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Often I hear the expression “God’s Time.” Occasionally it refers to creation and how so much could have been done in a traditional week. Occasionally it refers to ancient times when God seems (based on scripture) more active in the world. More often that not, it is in reference to a patient future. “Things will happen in God’s time.” In other words, there is no use worrying when something will happen because only God knows when and it may not be soon.

In all of these, God’s time is either a construct of the past or future. What about the present? Isn’t this God’s Time too?

I have always believed that if everyone put their first priorities first, all our busy schedules would just click like a well maintained clock. I have always believed that if everybody made time for those things that are most important, they would have the energy to do all the things they claim they don’t’ have energy for. I have always believed this but have struggled to do it and lead a church family to do the same.

We do all kinds of things to “make time” in our lives. Calendars, agendas, smart-phones, workshops on multi-tasking, 5 hour energy drinks and cabinets full of time-saving devices for the kitchen. In reality, we can’t make or save time. It just keeps going.

The pressure of it drives some of us to act goofy avoiding the issue. The pressure of it drives some of us to drink, shoot-up, sleep-around, log-on, zone-out or what ever else we can come up with to distract our fearful minds. The outcome is a world that feels like it's moving even faster and more out of control. Maybe that's what we get for trying to control time.

A friend of mine recently shared an adaptation of scripture that seems to speak well in this present time. Instead of “Be still and know that I am God,” he says, “Chill out and know that you are not God.”

Ouch!

Researchers tell us that young adults (and not just those in the church) are spending a lot of money and Google search time on ancient prayer disciplines. Fasting, keeping hours, and other disciplines most often associated with monks and nuns. In this crazy hyper-speed world we live in, people are longing to live in God’s Time. They are looking to see how people did it in the past, hoping to find a better future. Searching for God’s Time.

It is interesting that ancient prayer disciplines are making such a come-back. There are places in scripture where the Disciples are off to keep the daily prayer cycle. The tradition was preserved through monastic orders among others. It is an ancient cycle of prayer that calls us to stop every three hours and talk to God.

Maybe we can find God’s time now. Maybe we can find a rhythm or cycle to life that is grounded in prayer. Maybe we can tell the coach or instructor or event leader, “no.” Maybe we can make time to simply listen and be present with family. Maybe we can give of ourselves to serve those in need. Maybe we can stop filling the calendar with stuff we hope will distract us from the reality that time is running out.

Maybe we can chill out and remember we are not God.

But we are God’s people.

Maybe we can find God’s Time now.