Where is time

So I’m on this retreat with the rest of the lead team of Fellowship Church.

It’s amazing. 

This is a ski resort in the Winter, I guess.  It is blanketed in green and tucked in by this perfect sky blue.  A river winds through this place, providing this lovely little chatter wherever you go.  People stroll about, with smiles on their faces.  Later I’ll put some links in here with more of the nuts and bolts about this place, or maybe I’ll just add a post of description.  Right now, though, this is not where my heart is.

I woke up early (it’s 5:30 as I write this.) and went for a walk.  I asked God to just fill me up with whatever it was I needed.  I’m going to share what that walk was like.  I was, indeed, filled up with stuff.  I believe it came from God.  Maybe it didn’t.  Doesn’t really matter.  I think it’s likely that our whole idea about what ideas come from God and what ideas come from us are silly and simplistic. 

At any rate, I began with this gentle sense of reverence.  I realized that the whole idea of a spiritual retreat, it’s a bit like a days-long prayer.  The ground I walked upon was hallowed just by virtue of my intent upon it… but that’s not exactly right, either.  The ground I walked upon was hallowed by virtue of God’s actions based on my intent.

As I write this now, I am reminded of the burning bush, and how Noah (oops, I mean) Moses was told to take off his sandals.

At that time, I was mindful of something Martin Buber said “Prayer does not exist in time.  Time exists in prayer.”  Somebody else– maybe it was Madeline L’Engle– distinguished between two types of time.  Chronos and Karios (Can some of you Greek speaking folks help me with the spelling here?)

Chronos is the sort of time that our watches keep.  Karios is the sort of time that God’s watch keeps.  It is squishy, maybe… It doesn’t just travel horizentally, at a constant rate, like Chronos does.  Karios sometimes just goes straight up.  Time doesn’t exactly stop passing, but eternity just fills up a moment.

Remember your first kiss?  Or the time you new a (literal or metaphoric) car wreck was fast approaching, and nothing could be done about it?  In some sense it seems to go on forever, but the funny thing is you probably could have given a pretty good guess around how long the whole thing took.  Eternity is not only outside time, it is also inside the moments.   Perhaps this connected to the fact that the kingdom of heaven is among us.

And so my first realization this morning, on my brief, brisk walk was that time itself is in prayer.  The world thinks that prayer is this thing we do.  I suspect prayer is this massive thing, a where house or better yet is a forest.  One little meadow is asking God for stuff.  A giant field is dropping to our knees and listening to God.  It is the source of time itself.

Intimately connected to this was this little glimpse about God’s fullness.  An understanding of what it means to fear God, a concept that I always struggle with.  A feeling that God is love but he is not to be trifled with, at the same time.  My random theologion quote here would be C.S. Lewis’, from the Narnia books about Aslan (his Jesus figure) being good but far from tame.

I can’t explain how, exactly, these were connected.  And as I try to think back and put words to it I’m getting further away not closer.  So I guess this is as good a place as any.

Wishing you peace and God’s presence,

Jeff

 

This blog was my submission to Watercooler Wednesdays.  A blog carnival.  Click the link for more cool entries to Watercooler Wednesdays.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

5 thoughts on “Where is time”

  1. Thanks for the encouragement.

    I’m such an idiot. I actually read through it and couldn’t figure out why I should edit “Noah”. Apparently he was a pretty busy guy. He went and freed the people from Egypt after building the ark in my little world.

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  2. Pretty mystical thoughts so early in the am…I think the one of the most important things we can remember is that God is not bound by time or space or the forces of the world He created for us to live in. He has no boundaries. Time is important to God because when He says He will keep a promise and it will happen at a certain time, He always does. At the exact precise time. But God moves in and out of time zones as easily as in and out of hemispheres. He is safe (strong tower) and good yet He is also jealous, wrathful, and just. The tension is always there.

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