…Hearing the ‘Tick – Tock’ of Time!

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I’ve just got back from handing out leaflets for GL11 and Cam Parish Council.
[They’ve put together lots of useful information and working hard  to coordinate the community support for Cam & Dursley, a huge thanks to the team for their efforts!]
Cam is unsettlingly quiet right now. My prayer is that it wouldn’t just be quiet, but that we’d be still and know God in this time.

On Sunday I preached from Psalm 90 and we were reminded that God is eternal, that He alone is the righteous judge and that we should therefore ‘number our days’. It seems to me that people are at least starting to consider my final point – but a ‘heart of wisdom’ will be found in acknowledging the first two points…

‘…from everlasting to everlasting’…

I cited some research during the sermon that suggested that some scientists think that it might be possible for humans to live forever eventually *1. As I said on Sunday, that understandably caught my attention.

The psalmist, in the first two verses of Psalm 90, describes God’s eternal nature…

1 Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
2 Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
(Psalm 90:1-2 NLT)

God is everlasting. Yet it seems that, in theory at least, humans have the potential to experience eternal life – our bodies have been formed with that potential within them.
Just pause and think about that for a minute…your biology suggests have been made for a life that doesn’t end in the grave!

This suggestion, I would argue, gives significant bouyancy to the Christian belief that death was not part of the perfect creation that God spoke into existence at the dawn of time. (Whilst at the same time, it would also put a major hole in the buddhist belief in reincarnation and the rather utilitarian evolutionary view of death as an ‘unfortunate necessity’)

‘…our secret sins’…

So why are we confronted by death with such troubling frequency. As we all know it is a mathematical certainty that 10 out of 10 of us will die!

In the bible we read that death is part of our experience as a direct consequence of sin…

12 When Adam sinned,
sin entered the world.
Adam’s sin brought death,
so death spread to everyone,
for everyone sinned.
(Romans 5:12 NLT)

I find it interesting that Paul describes death as a consequence of sin and that death ‘spreads‘. Does that remind you of anything…an infectious disease perhaps?…

We’d all like to plead our innocence and I know that you’re probably a fairly decent human being. Your parents possibly think you’re a ‘treasure’, your friends think you’re a ‘top mate’ and your pets can’t get enough of you…but are you really ‘all that’?

If your life-story was a book then I know that there will be plenty to take delight in but there will also be the odd smudged page, the troubling paragraph and maybe even whole chapters that you hope will never be published. But in the end we don’t get to self-edit the final print copy!

‘…number our days’…

It’s hard to ignore our own human frailties with so many headlines and statistics pointing out the rising death toll. I received a message last week from a church leader who led a community group where amongst others, there was a recently bereaved aunt, a buisness owner who had had to lay off all his staff, an engaged couple who had had their wedding cancelled and a number of extremely stressed NHS staff!

Everyone is  having to face their limitations at this time. Financially, relationally, mentally and even spiritually we are all feeling the strain. So how should we respond?

The psalmist asks God, the eternal righteous judge, to teach us to number our days (vs. 12).

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“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

In Peter Pan, Captain James Hook is terrified of ticking clocks. He’s being stalked by a crocodile that has developed a taste for him after it ate his hand. Since it also swallowed a clock, the ticking of the time piece has alerted the captain to the reptiles presence and this has led to Captain Hook’s obsession with breaking clocks and watches, to stop them ticking – infact, the whole story of Peter Pan is one of how we react to the relentless progress of time.

You could try to ignore the tick-tocking of the marching minutes, you could try to drown them out with noise, you could even try to find the source and silence it but you won’t gain a ‘heart of wisdom’ by doing any of that…

No…wisdom is found by turning to it’s source, God; accepting that His judgement is righteous and accepting the gift of His unmeritted grace in Jesus Christ!


Questions for Connect Groups/Personal study:

  1. We often try to deny our mortality.
    – How do we act like we’ll never die?
  2. Would you want to live forever? Why/why not?
  3. The psalmists asks God to ‘teach us to number our days…
    – In what ways are people beginning to do this?
    – How are you doing it?
  4.  In Proverbs, the teacher repeatedly tells us that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ – for example…

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
    (Proverbs 9:10 ESV)

    – How does this Psalm point us to that?

  5. Take time this week to reflect on all that God has done, and is doing in your life.
    As you reflect on your life in this way and look to the future, ask God to ‘establish the work of your hands’ as you seek to live for Him.

    Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!
    (Psalm 90:17 ESV)

Ideas for engaging kids:

Having watched the video on Sunday – over the next few weeks we’re going to be exploring the word of God, the Bible.

  1. Have a go at drawing a picture of your favourite bible story – you can use the template below if you like.
    Draw your favourite Bible story.
  2. Can you retell your favourite bible stories using your toys/dolls/teddies?
    – Why is this story your favourite?
    – Find out which story is your grown-ups favourite.

Kids, if you do either of these activities, get a grown-up to snap a picture and send it to me – I’ll post any I do recieve to our Facebook page.


Footnotes:

  1. http://www.frontlinegenomics.com/news/24340/in-theory-humans-could-now-live-forever/

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