tick tick tick

No, the blog title doesn’t refer to how my teachers used to mark my work at school.

Today is a significant landmark in our family. It is the final formal moment in our son’s Secondary education. Other than collecting his A Level results next month he won’t be going back. Today is Speech Day, and he will be receiving two subject prizes (turn proud parent mode to maximum). As I thought about this today I was reminded of the famous passage in Ecclesiastes:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecc 3:1-8)

Perhaps there should also be ‘a time to finish’ and ‘a time to start something new’ in there too. I think that because it is such an evocative passage many people have heard of it (the Byrds’ song based on it does help keep it in our consciousness).

I remember hearing a sermon on this passage many years ago (I think I was a teenager) and the preacher said that while we can take this and get all poetic and sentimental about it, you can also look at it as describing the relentless, driving passage of time. If you imagine a metronome ticking away in the background it takes on a different perspective. Life just keeps coming at us and there’s nothing we can do about it. Time keeps passing and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Except that we can mark time. Not in the way that marching soldiers do, but we can mark the moments. I think it is great that there is a Speech Day to conclude our son’s time at school and that he has been awarded some prizes. It makes it memorable.

And for me that’s the key. Memorable moments mark time. It doesn’t have to be spectacular or impressive, but writing in the margin of your Bible when God speaks to you through a passage, writing a prayer journal or even a blog all help to record memories to which you can refer later and give thanks to God as you remember. Many times in the Old Testament the people of God were urged to remember the narratives of how God had been with them in the past so they could gain courage and strength in the present and assurance and hope to face the future.

If you don’t have your own memorable moments with God yet, read the Bible and borrow some of his. You may well find that some start for you as you do.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

A man was due to receive an award at a ceremony and it was dragging on and on so that by the time he was presented with the award it was very late and he sensed that people were restless. He stood up to give an acceptance speech.

“I have two speeches tonight,” he said, “a long one and a short one. In view of the lateness of the hour I will give you the short one.”

There was an appreciative ripple of applause.

“Thank you,” said the award winner, and sat down.

The master of ceremonies was a bit taken aback and insisted that the man to give the longer speech as well.

Reluctantly the man rose to his feet again to give the longer speech.

“Thank you very much,” he said, and sat down again to tumultuous applause.

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