Wednesday, December 30, 2009


One of the great hymns of the church- “O God our Help in Ages Past”- has a line in it which says: “Time like an ever-flowing stream bears all who breathe away…”

I guess many of us think about time this time of year as 2009 fades into 2010. Whenever a year passes, we say things like: “time and tide wait for no one,” or “time sure flies when you’re having fun.”

When you’re young time seems endless, the future is spread out in front of you. When I was in first grade, our teacher asked us to think about what we would be doing in the year 2000. I remember thinking: “Will I live that long? Will I be able to do anything if I do?”

Shaun Connery was being interviewed on late night television. He told about filming a movie deep in the hinterlands of Scotland. Every day he said: “I would rise up early and have breakfast. My limousine driver would meet me out front and I would get into a temperature controlled car and ride a few hours to my destination. At the end of the day, I would get back into my car and ride back to my motel.”

He said: “Every day I noticed an old man. On my way out he was walking, and on my way back in he was walking back.”

He said: “I asked my driver to stop one morning and I asked the man if we could give him a ride. I told him that we would pick him up in the morning and take him to where he wanted to go and then on the way back we would pick him up and take him home.”

The man said: “No…” Connery said: “Why not?” The man said: “What would I do with all that time?”

Connery said that he and the man were living in two different worlds. I was living in a fast time, moving as fast as I could get to where I was going. The man was living a step at a time.

The truth is that when we get older time doesn’t go faster really. It’s still 24 hours a day. But, it sure seems to go faster, doesn’t it?

Last Sunday, I used Paul’s letter to Galatia as my text: Chapter 4:4-7. Paul says: “In the fullness of time, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law…”

In the fullness of time means when the time was right, when the time was ripe, as ripe as a peach on a tree, God sent forth his son. We would say that when Jesus was born it hardly seems like the right time. But, some theologians say that the time was ripe in that Rome had built roads to everywhere in the known world to enhance trade. Even sea routes were regularly travelled to import and export goods.

The time was right for the Gospel to be spread throughout the world.

In a day or two, many will gather in Time Square to await the coming of a new year. Many will not think much of the meaning of time.

Our culture, in fact, teaches us that if time is to have meaning it must come from us. Time is something to be manipulated and planned out. Our faith teaches us that if time is to have any meaning at all, it must come from God. God has plans for us that we do not yet know.

Only God knows the times. Time is a gift to be lived, not frittered away. In our time, God sent forth his son to claim us as his children.

Happy New Year!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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