Home   Pastor's Message  Pictures   Bible Study   Announcements

Youth Group   Music   Offerings   Archives   Links of Interest to Lutherans

Vol. 79 - No. 1
January 2008

WORD FROM THE PASTOR:             

Time
            I’ve been listening to a fairly recent album by Ray Price. When I say “fairly recent” I mean
about five years old. I’m a massive Ray Price fan, but I’ve deliberately avoided this album. Price in
his prime revitalized country-western music by inventing the “shuffle” style, which basically consists
of anguished lyrics sung over a deliriously danceable beat and jazzy steel guitar and fiddle. It’s music
that makes you happy and heartbroken simultaneously, and I adore it above any other musical style.
But Price’s 2002 “Time” album–recorded when he was 77 years old–was something I avoided. I
remember how Sinatra sounded at a similar age, and I had no taste for the heartbreaking sound of a
great voice in ruins. Plus, Price’s photo on the album cover makes him look more like 107 than
77–which further strengthened my impression that the vocals on the album would be trying.
            But I finally broke down and got the album a few weeks ago...and it’s probably one of the
finest country albums ever made! Despite the album photo, Price sounds about 35 years old. The
irony is that the album’s title track, “Time”, is about the ravages that the passing years bring. The
song packs a melancholy punch:
            Time is a monster that lives in our clocks, it’s heartless and shows no remorse...
            Time is a weapon, it’s cold and it’s cruel...
            Time is a soldier...it takes no prisoners...
The march of time is inescapable, and we can’t outdistance it:
            You can burn up the highway, fly like the wind, run on those long, shiny rails
            but time’s right behind you like a hound dog that’s hot on your trail...
The song ends with these haunting words:
            Time has no conscience, when it’s all said and done,
            Like a beast in the jungle that devours its young. 
            Ray Price is not the only artist to present time as an enemy. The crocodile in Peter Pan, its
swallowed clock ticking away, is another great image for time-as-threat. (The most memorable line 
in “Finding Neverland” was when J. M. Barrie greeted an older lady at a theatrical premiere and noted
her husband’s absence; she tells Barrie that the husband has died, then notes, “That ticking crocodile
is chasing after us all, Mr. Barrie.”) There’s also a haunting scene in Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier
in which a middle-aged lady, feeling age creeping up on her, arises in the middle of the night and
stops all the ticking clocks in her home.
            The new year inevitably makes us think of time, and how rapidly it advances. When I was
a kid, I went to a movie called 2001–and at the time, that year seemed absurdly far in the future. Now
I’m facing 2008–which sounds like a year out of Buck Rogers! Where does the time go? “Devours
its young” indeed!
            A classic Biblical passage about time is Ecclesiastes 3 (memorably set to music by The
Byrds):
            Unto every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven
            A time to be born, and a time to die... (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

But then the author of Ecclesiastes notes something very significant.
            God has put eternity in the heart of man (3:11)
So even though we live in the midst of time, we have eternity in our hearts. Perhaps that’s why the
passage of time seems so alarming–because, deep inside, we long for eternity, we long for a place in
which time does not devour us. ( C. S. Lewis notes that we’re always amazed when we meet a child
we haven’t seen for awhile and note how much the child has grown. That amazement, Lewis says,
indicates that, deep in our hearts, we were made for eternity, and that the passage of time always
shocks us).
            And God does promise us eternity. He came into our world of time in Jesus Christ (who was
born, not in a vague “once upon a time”, but at a definite moment in time, during the reign of Caesar
Augustus)–in order to raise us up to His world of eternity. The thirst for eternity that we have in our
hearts is satisfied in Jesus Christ. He is taking us to a place where time will be no more. Our future
is a place where there are no clocks, no train timetables, no calendars...where time is not chasing us
down like a hound dog...where we will share in the eternal joy of God.
            We’re not there yet, of course. We’re still living in time. But as long as we’re living in time,
let’s make the most of it! After all, the Bible says something about “redeeming the time”
(Ephesians 5:16)
. In other words, we are to turn time from an enemy into a friend. We can do this
by using time in a wise and positive way. We can use it to worship God–giving Him some of our time
every week. We can use it to show kindness and love to others. Our time in this world is limited, and
we want to use it in a constructive way–as Jesus says, “We must do the work of Him who sent me
while it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)
And when we use our time
to God’s glory, then we may find that it isn’t such an enemy anymore. It doesn’t have to be a beast
who “devours its young”. It can be something we use to the praise of God and for the benefit of
others.
            I still feel the sting of the Ray Price song... “time is a monster”. But it’s a monster that can
be tamed and made into an ally. May 2008 be an occasion, not to lament the passing of time, but to
“redeem the time” and use it to the glory of God! 
            God loves you and so do I!

Website designed and maintained by St. Paul's Members:
Roberta Paul:  grannyli@yahoo.com & John Martin: plaza237@yahoo.com
contact either for info, additions, deletions, announcements, etc.

Home   Pastor's Message  Pictures   Bible Study   Announcements

Youth Group   Music   Offerings   Archives    Links of Interest to Lutherans