Dear friends and congregation,
We had a big birthday weekend in our family, Sam turning 18 on Saturday and Peter 15 yesterday. Young parents are often told, “Enjoy this time, it will go faster than you think!” And then people who tell you that, they smile knowingly as if they are part of a clandestine society that you’re not a member of. It’s sometimes hard to believe those comments during the early stages of family life when the kids are young and you seemingly need four hands, when your attention is required in three different places at the same time when they cry at night and you reluctantly leave the comfort of your own bed to comfort your child, exhausted and disheveled as you are. But then these days come when your children are suddenly at the threshold of adulthood and you realize that everything went so much faster than you ever imagined. They argue with you in intelligent ways, there is give and take, and you enjoy your children in very different ways, but the truth is, what you were told at the outset was 100 percent correct: those years flew by! My daughter is going to turn 20 around Christmas. I guess it must be so.
How do we measure time? With our clocks and cellphones and all that other equipment, stupid! But no, how do we REALLY measure time? I know that, for some of you, time is crawling and creeping at a snail’s pace (or even slower) right now. I spoke to Bill K. over the weekend, one of our senior church members, still impatiently waiting to be able to see his wife who is quarantined across the street at the Nursing Care facility in his retirement community. He can’t see her, he can’t kiss her, and even just speaking to her on the phone is difficult. And still, there is no end in sight for this quarantine to be lifted! These restrictions will be in place at least for a few more weeks. The clock ticks slowly for him and for so many others, days are long, time’s not moving. Then there are others in our congregation who work long days, busy days; some say they are “busier than ever” during this time. Some are working constantly in excess of 12 hours a day and the changes they absorb come at lightning speed. There is something new, some new concept they have to respond to every single day. Time, as we experience it, has a very subjective feel to it. So let me introduce you to a Biblical concept of time. (And if you are too busy, please skip!)
The New Testament uses two words for time, one is “Chronos” and the other is “Kairos,” two Greek terms with very different connotations. “Chronos” is a word that we can easily relate to, since many English words are derived from it, such as chronicles, chronic, etc. When the gospel writers use that word it means: time as it is objectively measured by whatever we got to keep track of it, time as it ticks away measurably for everyone. The other word, “Kairos” is used very differently and selectively. When Jesus says in the gospels, “My time has not yet come,” the word “Kairos” is used. It indicates a special time, a God-time if you will, a very meaningful moment in the sea of moments. And if I interpret my New Testament correctly, I believe that one of our challenges as human beings on our spiritual journey is precisely this: to recognize those special moments in time when God sends us a special invitation – and to make the most of it. How many “Kairos” times have you had in your life? You already know that I believe that this prolonged time of a Global Sabbath is a God-moment, not just for individuals like me and you but for society as a whole. This could be a beginning of “resetting the clock” of our notoriously hectic lifestyles. This could cause us to realize that sometimes all that busy-ness is our way of dressing up and hiding our own nakedness from God (Genesis 3:8). I pray every day that we use this Kairos time wisely, as a church, as U.S. society, as a global community. End of sermon.
I hope you enjoyed our Earth Day worship service yesterday. It is still very easily accessible on our website and on our Facebook page. As mentioned last week, we are investing in some technologies that will help us meet the challenges of the virtual age, including a video editing program. These technologies are paid for from our Memorial Fund in a special nod to Roy J. who suddenly died last year and who was always interested in new technologies and gadgets. He will be very happy to know that the Memorial money we received on his behalf is used for such a project. In fact, I can see him smile!
For today, I want to invite you to pray for Lilia M., one of our teens. She has had a difficult upbringing which included trauma and abuse. Her grandmother Oswilla has been doing whatever she can, and many times more, to keep her on a healthy track; yet, working against the demons of the past is one of the most frustrating experiences. I remember Lilia as a little girl coming to church, and every Sunday she would give me a big hug. As she entered the teenage stage, some of her hidden burdens came out in the form of aggression, and she has been in and out of youth shelters. I pray that she will be placed in a program that can truly help her deal with her emotions and impulses, and also provide her with appropriate medical and counseling care. She is very much loved in our church, but she has a tough road ahead of her and I ask you to please pray for her. I also thank Oswilla for giving me permission to share this and allow our people to support her. You can flood her with cards. Send them to: Montgomery County Youth Shelter, 540 Port Indian Rd., Norristown. PA. 19403.
The attached picture captures a fox in MaryAnn G.’s backyard. I have seen a fox wondering in our neighborhood as well. Beautiful animals!
Be blessed and be safe!
Pastor Andreas Wagner