Lenten Devotional – March 23, 2023

Thursday, March 23, 2023
Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time 
by Dorothy C. Bass 
Devotions by Pastor Travis Norton

Bass begins her book by reminding us of all the “moral freight” that time carries. She acknowledges that we judge people as good or bad depending on how they use time. Do they waste our time? Are they on time? Do they spend time well? Do they keep people waiting for them? And we judge ourselves according to the ethics of time well. Did I waste the day? Did I spend the right amount of time with my family, on my tasks?  

Bass writes, “Grace can seem in short supply indeed once we begin to think that whoever “uses time well” is right with God and that whoever “wastes” time is committing sin.” Later she says, “When the time bind catches me, it seems impossible to come out ahead. I have gotten too little done, or I have done so very much that I failed to share time with people I love.” The question that hangs in the air is how do we respond to these pressures and morals around time? 

Having named the problem, Bass moves to the subject of her book. “One response to the awesome fact of our vulnerability as creatures trying to stay afloat in the rapid waters of time is to seek refuge in a God who exists beyond time.” She isn’t talking about escapism here, but looking to develop rhythms and practices that acknowledge, “Time itself is made holy by the presence of God.” God who is beyond time, entered into time and redeemed it. Time now is a gift to be received. 

Bass reminds us that “over the centuries, Christian people have inherited and invented practices that embody their community’s deepest beliefs regarding time, practices that cling to the contours of the day, the week and the year….reminding us, again and again, through words and actions, that time is a gift of God.” 

Over the next four days we will explore Bass’ book on how we can receive the gift of time through very down- to-earth practices. She promises that good patterns of living in time “are down-to-earth: festivals and naps, certain words and certain rituals, rhythms of work and rest. They are patterns that can be made a difference as we struggle with the problem of time in our lives, for our well-being and for the wellbeing of others.” 

Prayer: God beyond time, make our time holy. Guide us to good patterns of work and play and rest. Free us from all the ways our uses of time bring judgement and angst, and give us instead the gift you intend time to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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