Calendars everywhere! Dozens of different calendars lined the shelves, of the bookstore, featuring an amazing array of themes and activities. Just about everyone is getting in on the act producing calendars to keep their name or business identity in our minds. I wonder whether it has something to do with an increased propensity to mark the passing of time. Each new year takes on the possibilities of new things, and the hope that others will be left behind.
And then there are those who mark time until the turning of the millennium. The year 2000 has grabbed the imagination of many, with this same theme of "a new era". Is this interest in calendars part of that?
There is no doubt that we need to set down landmarks at various stages on the journey. The passing of time is not just a natural aspect of life, it also indicates growth and change. We celebrate 21st birthdays; we note with decreasing enthusiasm the 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, and so on. We cannot deny the passing of time. But we also recognise that we are not captive to time either. Time is our friend, our partner on the journey, sometimes friendly, sometimes pushing us into decisions.
All those calendars tell us the same story, and its message cannot be hidden behind glossy pictures: we are all given a certain amount of time - none of us can guarantee that we will be around to turn the month of December in the 1998 calendar.
This year the church celebrates fifty years as a constituted fellowship: who we are today is a gift from God through the people who have gone before us. Their witness, their service, and their worship have set a groundwork (for good and ill) on which we build today. But what are we putting in place for the coming generations? Of course, the church can only be built on Jesus Christ - on our faith in his faithfulness. Anything else is wood, hay and stubble.
As we continue through this year, let us use the time we are given to develop and deepen our love relationship with Jesus. It is the best we can do to live today, to prepare for tomorrow, and to give to those following after us.
January 25, 1998
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