Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tick Tock

So, here we are in 2008. I've been thinking a lot about time and the passing of time recently. Amongst other questions, I've been pondering the following:
  • is God timeless? (I think I think he isn't exactly).
  • what is time for? (I'm pretty sure the answer is the Incarnation).
  • how should we think about time? (I guess we should value it as any of God's creations).
But I don't want to talk about any of those right now. Right now, what I'm struck by is that relationships can only happen in time. (This is certainly true of human relationships, and I suspect that with some modification it is true of divine relationship as well, hence my disbelief in God's timelessness). And one of the things about a relationship is that it changes over time - hopefully growing and deepening. So it's a blessing that time is divided up - that we have months, and seasons, and years. Because the dividing points - like the new year just beginning - provide marker posts. Times for us to stop and reflect on the relationship so far, where it's been and where it's going.
In 1 Samuel 7, Israel's relationship with God has just reached a point of growth. The idols have been put away. Israel returns to the Lord. As a result, the Lord defeats the Philistines. Samuel marks this milestone in the relationship by raising a pillar, which he names Ebenezer ("stone of help"), saying "Till now the Lord has helped us". This specific point in time is marked and remembered, as a point when God's people learnt to trust him more fully. (A specific point in space - between Mizpah and Shen - is also involved. Time and space are inextricably linked as between them providing the context within which God relates to his creation).
The beginning of a new year is in itself an Ebenezer - we're still here, still trusting Christ. Thus far, the Lord has helped us. I wonder what other occasions there will be to raise memorials through 2008.

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