Jan 1, 2012

Fr Freddy's January message

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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

We have been given another New Year - we've survived, we've been spared to greet it! Sometimes, we are so preoccupied with linear time, that we forget that as Christians, we live in cyclical time; the time turning of the wheel of the year with its seasons and festivals that help us keep a spirituality that is in harmony with the seasons. "Ring out the old, ring in the new" says the poet. Religion places time and timelessness together - places them in parallel. Not that they can stay together for very long. Our time runs out, our timelessness runs nowhere, for that is it. It just is.

Each one of us is set fairly and clearly within our time, courtesy of our birth certificate, baptism certificate, NHS number and passport etc. There we are on each, fully documented and date-stamped all over.

Jesus showed scant respect for time; He criticised those who allowed it to dominate their lives in such a way that they "hadn't the time to take their time". Not to have a spare minute, let alone a spare hour, is a cause of bragging in our villages and towns: "I never have a minute to myself", "I don't have time to turn around", "I just managed to get everything done in time". When folk say this, are they asking for congratulations? Our ancestors and previous generations didn't seem so concerned as we are about time. For them it was daybreak or noon, or evening, or night. It was spring or it was summer, or winter. It was St. Michael's Day (Michaelmas) or Christmas (12 days of it), or maybe one's own birthday - although one could never be quite sure.

Life went on without hours and minutes, for the most part. The sun came up and the sun went down; the tides went out and the tides came in. The birds flew away, only God knew where, and the birds flew home, what joy. "Here, in the country, life is as it's always been... God comes down in the rain, the crops grow tall... This is the country faith, the best of all." The Lord would come in his own good time, though please God not yet. Then a great gold clock was fixed on the parish church and its hands told every hand when to start and when to stop, and Time ruled the roost.

The Book of Ecclesiastes, in the Bible, offers a philosophy of Time. The Preacher, he calls himself; he's seen it all and done it all. There is time to weep, time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to keep silence, to be born, to die. There is in a lifetime, if not a year, a time for everything, once we have learned to find the time. That is the secret. And so let there be respect for the Earth and its peoples; love in our lives and delight in the good; forgiveness for past wrongs and from now on a New Beginning.

Happy New Year

Fr Freddy

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