Lenten Devotional – March 21, 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023
How to Inhabit Time by James K.A. Smith
Lenten Devotional by Mike Olsen
Inhabiting Time

I have trouble remembering what various “theological” terms mean.  (Google it!)  For example, “eschatology,” having to do with “end times” – when Christ returns and God’s creation is triumphant.  (I entered “eschatology” in the Windows 10 Thesaurus and it said, “we couldn’t find any similar words.”  Touché.)

Christians have yearned for the End Times for 2,000 years.  In a profound way, that is even what Lent is about – 40 days of counting until the Crucifixion gains a new heaven and a new earth for us.  Yes, but . . ..  As James Smith reminds us in his book How to Inhabit Time, there is not a clock on the wall in heaven going “tick, tick, tick.”  Instead, we – and those saints who came before us and those who may come after us (we “know neither the day nor the hour”) – live on a continuum – from “Let there be light,” to “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20)

Here I think of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – where gravity “bends” time.  As Smith says, we “inhabit” time: – then, now, and the future (eschatologically speaking – see above!).  Yes, that soccer game is still on for Tuesday; yes, Dad is spiraling deeper into dementia; yes, yes, yes, yes – I need more time! 

The challenge is to set our time to God’s time.  James Smith ends on this note: “If God’s redemption gathers up the broken fragments of our histories into a mosaic of new life, it seems like those histories go with us to heaven too.  Redemption is not an undoing, an effacing, or an erasing but a “gathering up” of our histories, a taking up of what time has wrought.  Like the ships of Tarshish (Isa. 60:9), our habitualities and history sail into an eternal future with a God who makes all things new. Eternity bears the marks of our now.”

For me, this Lent, that thought is comforting.

Take Time to Be Holy
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus, led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Text: William D. Longstaff – 1822-1894
Tune: George C. Stebbins – 1846-1945

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