Nov. 3rd, 2017 | Rev. Don Underwood
On a Sunday morning many years ago, I arrived at the church bright and early. A few minutes later I greeted my associate as he walked in. The two of us went into the sanctuary and chatted casually about the worship service that was scheduled to begin in about forty-five minutes. The morning proceeded normally until we were within about fifteen minutes of the opening voluntary, and we both noticed that the sanctuary was still empty. The organist was not there, no choir member or usher had appeared, no worshippers. I can remember the two of us looking at one another with panic on our faces, and then the slowly dawning realization, which came to us simultaneously, that we had both arrived one hour early on time change Sunday. The panic turned into big grins, and the big grins evolved into riotous laughter.
Consider yourself informed. This Sunday you get to sleep an extra hour. Better yet, you get an extra hour for prayer and exercise. Either way, I know that your pastor will enjoy seeing your well-rested face in the pews. Here at Christ United I will be preaching on how the practice of prayer leads to living a more generous and abundant life, and I am excited about sharing that message with our members and many visitors.
Now back to our subject. That November day years ago was not the only time that Time has played a trick on me. The truth is that Time is constantly playing with us, seducing us, misdirecting us. This morning, for instance, the members of the Houston Astros baseball team have been seduced into believing that this momentous day of celebration will be frozen in time. It is, frankly, a wonderful seduction that allows them to joyously celebrate this moment uninhibited by anxiety about what life will look like a few days or weeks or years from now. It is a moment that will be cherished in their memories, but the elation of it will diminish as Time marches forward and life unfolds with its inevitable surprises, both serendipitous and disappointing. Someday decades from now an aging former baseball player will say, “It seems like only yesterday that we won the series,” but one will see in his watery eyes the many memories that have filled the years since that long-ago November victory. Time is like that. It plays tricks on us.
Years ago, I read Stephen Hawking’s best-seller A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME. I didn’t fully understand it, but I did get the point that, in the world of physics, time is “relative” like everything else. Today, I don’t need a physics lesson to know the power of that truth. In fact, I would say that Time is so mysterious and elusive, so “tricky,” that the only way to understand it is to embrace it. To grab the gift of life just offered, and live it fully. Live it with gratitude in the presence of the One who speaks us into existence in each moment we have been given. Live it with the same exuberance the Houston Astros are experiencing today, except in the knowledge that the real victory is not the baseball-game-just-won, but the breath-just-breathed.