MARCH 27, 2006

by Pastor George Van Alstine

That’s the only way I can remember what to do with the clock at the beginning and the end of Daylight Saving Time.

There’s a subtle emotional pleasure in going to bed on a Saturday night in October knowing you’ll get an extra hour of sleep. By contrast, there’s a distinct pang on the Saturday night in April when you realize you will actually be losing an hour. For a minister it seems particularly cruel that this always happens the night before the busiest day of her/his week. If it happens on an evening before an Easter Sunrise Service, the minister knows in a new way what it means to bear the cross with Christ.

“Losing an hourâ€?—what an interesting way to put it. Does that mean that precious hour is gone forever? Of course not; we’ll get it back again in the fall. But knowing this intellectually doesn’t take away our feeling of loss. Time is so precious and our lives are so short, we feel we’ve been cheated.

But really, all of this is a man-made game. Clocks are not part of nature. All nature knows is that the sun comes up and the sun goes down. This cycle is called a day. Humans created clocks to organize one day around their self-important activities. Whether it’s now 1:00 PM, or 2:00 PM, or noon—none of that matters to a tree or to a porcupine. Or, for that matter, to God! “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.â€? 2 Peter 3:8)

Well if that’s true, if it’s all the same to God, let’s turn our clocks back this weekend, instead of ahead. And let’s make it a thousand years instead of an hour. That will give us another millennium of life on this earth.

Sorry, God’s timetable is not ours. Ours allots us maybe “ . . . seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong.â€? (Psalm 90:10) For many of us, most of our allotted years are gone. And as long as we are on this earth, we’ll be clock-bound, turning it forward each spring and back each fall.

But here’s one sure thing—whether we are young or old, whether time seems to drag because of boredom or fly because of declining years—God wants us to see this hour as the moment of our spiritual opportunity: “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake up from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.â€? (Romans 13:11-12)

What time is it? It’s your time to meet God. Don’t miss your appointment.


Communion Service, usually held on the first Sunday, will instead be on Palm Sunday, April 9