December 1, 2022

Telling Time

I remember, before we had digital clocks, when our kids had to learn how to tell time. It was challenging at first, but soon they began to catch on. Then we could give them a watch and say, “Come home for dinner when the big hand is at the 12 and the little hand is at the 6.”

Those days are gone for good. Now we all have phones which display the time whenever we touch the screen. Wrist watches talk to us and preview our text messages and display video clips. But even with all this technology, do we really know what time it is?

I don’t mean confirming the exact hour and minute, but recognizing a turning point that really matters, in God’s time. When the Apostle Paul told us, “It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep,” he wasn’t foretelling what alarm clocks would do someday. “The night is far gone,” he wrote, “the day is near.” He meant that a new era is dawning, and we need to meet it with our eyes open. (Romans 13:11)

When it comes to recognizing urgent needs in our world, we can be as slow as kids just learning how to tell time. Darkness has a way of sneaking up on us, gradually numbing our senses until it becomes familiar. Gun violence, greed and hunger, and the destruction of the earth are all at crisis levels. The darkness gets inside us, too, through our own bad choices and when we turn our backs on suffering.

No more! The time has come for us to “lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” We need to prepare for a struggle, to form ourselves into healthy, courageous, caring communities. Even the most rugged individuals can be overcome by the power of darkness. Together, in Christ, it’s possible for us to meet this moment.

The Good News is that help is on its way, if only that Bethlehem baby can be born again in our hearts. Look around; do you see glimmers of light on the horizon? Here on the Ute Reservation, I see dozens of kids and teenagers embracing an arts program, adults supporting each other in choosing sobriety, traditional ceremonies and celebrations finding new life. The words of the Gospel of John resonate in my heart: “What has come into being in (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3)