Faith at Work LIII

December 2008

I was fascinated by the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place at night in Singapore back in September. Enormously powerful lighting brought back the day to the track and demanded special eye protection for the drivers. Why go to that trouble? Why bring such inconvenience to the locals just to enable Europeans to view the spectacle at the usual time? The drivers too chose to keep to European time in their sleeping and eating schedule – breakfast at 3pm, lunch at 8pm and so on; time for them had been suspended and they were operating in two different time zones at the same time; bizarre!

Earlier that day, someone had returned to experience Quaker worship after 47 years away and described his sense of timelessness – he had picked up the value of being in Meeting for Worship almost as though there had been no gap at all. Someone else talked of the appreciation they had realised too late of someone’s achievements they had heard about only at the funeral; their lives might have been lived out differently had they known. Yet another echoed that famous insight by George Fox (from Launceston prison in 1656) that our active imperative is “to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one”, something to influence us now.

So, it occurred to me that time is a very special commodity – it seems as though we only have it once, the first, and only, time that it comes around, so there is pressure to stay awake and become aware of all the possibilities that appear for us and to make best use of them. That’s sometimes called living in the present and it’s good when we do, but what of our memories and the people that we can never meet again or those moments that we cannot re-live? They are often so dear to us that they live on in our hearts and continue to inspire our lives. Like the racing drivers, we too live in two worlds, the material one that often dictates our daily lives and the spiritual one that allows us to break free and dream of all that is.

Christmas is also a time of dualities – a time when we celebrate the divine coming to be born as human, as one of us, a glimpse of the Almighty being dependent and defenceless, when we see the eternal enlivening the temporal and providing insights for outsiders: there was no place left for Mary to rest and have her child; the first to know were the shepherds on the hill. The last to know were those in positions of secular and religious authority; their traditional assumptions were turned upside-down by someone so in touch with his heavenly Father that he needed no earthly rules. Even time does not contain Him as we kneel at the crib once again and pray:

For all that has been - thanks.
For all that is to come - yes.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2008-10-07

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