Our Tilted World
We northern hemisphere dwellers are experiencing the effects of our ever so slightly tilted Earth moving into an area of its orbit where the tilt puts us further away from the warmth of the sun’s rays.
This of course means cooler days, but it also means longer nights. Already, it has begun to get dark quite early in the evening, and the sun comes up a little later in our morning. Aiden noticed this the last week of October when we left the house to catch the school bus. He said, “Momma, is it a school day? Because we don’t have school nights.”
This past Sunday, we as a nation will adjusted our technology of time keeping to help us get the most out of this reality. We reset our clocks so that the sun is more present in the usual working hours of our society.
Some of us got an extra hour during our usual sleep time. As we do this, we also have a chance to reflect on time, how we mark it, and how we adjust our lives to time and the things that affect it.
The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes reflects on time. This short book filled with poetry influenced writers such as Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Shakespeare. It inspired the artist Peter Seeger to write “Turn, Turn, Turn” which was made popular by the folk rock group “The Byrds,” where in 1965 it topped charts for all genres. People loved hearing words that affirmed what they had experienced.
Seeger included in his song a majority of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes – especially the list of seemingly opposite things we will experience during our lives. Then as a refrains he uses the Ecclesiastes summary statement, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
So what do we do? Seeger takes no comment on that beyond, turn, turn, turn. That is, we keep on keeping on. But the author of Ecclesiastes tells his reader that it is God’s gift that we take pleasure in our lives. He professes that it is our task to take time to enjoy.
I think we do this by marking our moments. Historically, God’s people gathered either on the first or last day of the week to celebrate together God’s goodness. We too have this opportunity each week as we worship together each Sunday. We mark larger occasions with special ceremonies, weddings, birthdays, showers, funerals. God is present in each of these, and they help us align ourselves with the seasons which God has blessed.
Sometimes though, the night begins to creep into the day. The time markers we set for ourselves aren’t working as well as they once did. Maybe we think we should have moved on by now. We imagine that our grief shouldn’t be this intense this far out. We think perhaps that we should have our life together more by now.
Our world is a little tilted, and that shows up in moments when we experience God’s warmth and brightness in powerful ways, but sometimes, we feel a bit colder. In those moments, we gather together. We give thanks that we have community to support us. Then, we put on festivals of lights to remind us that God’s goodness always surrounds us. And, we readjust the clock a little. We give ourselves a bit more leeway to stop trying to accomplish too much before the sun shows up.
May we be thankful for God’s time.