Time, Time, Time… and Gods Time by monkey6

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									                      Time, Time, Time… and God’s Time!
                            Sunday 20 January 2008
                               “New Beginnings”
                              Nic Denny-Dimitriou
                        Church of the Ascension, Hilton
New Beginnings:
Idea for the theme today – in planning events for 2008
To acknowledge them (many and various)
To consider some of implications of new beginnings for our life lived with God
List some of them:
New year, first month of 2008
New in Hilton / new home and surroundings
Junior School, High school, University
New jobs
Illness
New marriage
Changed life circumstances, such as living as a divorced person / single
person / widow or widower
God always open to “new beginnings” in relationship with us – lots of
aspects
[2 pastoral situations – shared with congregation – including sudden death
this week of Errol Duncan, and Arthur Reynolds’ situation vis-à-vis cancer
and readiness to die, shared with permission of Arthur and Ann]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Opening prayer:
Lord God: All times and seasons belong to you, as does the very gift of life.
As we continue living day by day, and as we mark our time with this new calendar
year, we seek your presence in our lives, and your guidance and grace; we offer to
you our lives and our activities and our very selves, asking that you reveal yourself
to us in both ordinary moments and grand moments, that as you shape the destiny
of our lives, it would be done with our partnership and co-operation. Amen
2
Sermon:
There are many things in life we would like more of but cannot get our hands on –
certainly not for money! At the moment, electricity is one them. [Heard the one
doing the rounds – “What did South Africans use for lighting before candles? They
used electricity.”] Love is another. So is integrity – it doesn’t matter how much
money you have, you cannot buy it. Nor loyalty – unless your surname starts with
S... Selebi / Shaik 
Time cannot be bought yet it is something most of us would like more of, in order
to accomplish our tasks, because we feel under pressure, to enjoy more of the day
or more time with visiting friends or family, or even to extend our lifespan.
But we cannot buy time. Like life itself, it does not belong to us in the way that an
item of clothing, a vehicle or a treasured personal possession belongs to us. How
we use it is up to us – and by implication how we abuse it or take it for granted or
use the opportunities that time presents to us.
In her sermon last week, Julia spoke profoundly on an aspect of this, about how
when our lives are overly busy to the point that there is no time for reflection or
contemplation or quiet with God, we often lose the sense of God’s presence; and
there is a modern epidemic of people living their lives in such rush that it is no
wonder people say they feel disconnected from each other and from God.
In two weeks’ time, on Saturday morning 2 Feb, I will be using a booklet by
wellknown
South African writer, Trevor Hudson, in a morning presentation and prayer
time that tackles some of these issues, amongst others – the sense of living daily
with God even in the midst of hectic and pressurised lives. I hope that as many as
are able will commit to a few hours on just one morning near the start of this year in
order to focus on such things, perhaps even to learn some practical and helpful new
things. There is information about that morning in your Sunday leaflet.
On this Sunday of “New Beginnings” let us briefly take note of two words that the
Scriptures use for time. Both are Greek words, used especially in the NT, but in the
English language are translated as “time” because we don’t have single words with
the same depth or nuance as the original.
The first is Chronos
Chronometer – old fashioned word for a watch.
Chronos refers to the passage of time.
(1) One day following another with all the ordinary day-to-day stuff that
much of our life consists of. [OK – maybe not YOUR life – full of continuous
excitement. Or the t-shirt I regularly see at gym, that I keep thinking I must
get for Andy… “Life is simple: Eat. Sleep. Fly fish.” But MY life has much
ordinary stuff to it.]
(2) Also includes big stuff – “Rites of passage” – first day at school, turning
18 or 21, graduating, marrying, birth of children, anniversaries, and other
special events that take place in our lives.
3
The second is Kairos
The right time, the appointed time
Decisive points
Carries a sense of God dealing with us in God’s way, in God’s time
It can dovetail with “chronos” – both in ordinary events and in special events
“What is God’s time?” we may well ask. Eternal means “outside of time”, so how do
we talk of God’s time? Here we potentially enter the realms of the philosophers and
scientists, but that is not my aim – rather to say that time is so much part of life, our
lives are so bound up in it, that we are unable to live outside of it. But Jesus, being
God, and identifying fully with us, entered fully into time. The Scriptures indicate
that “at just the right time – the appointed time” God sent Jesus. And will do so
again, at the end of time as we know it.
The intention was so that God’s purposes could be revealed, that God’s plan for
humanity as a whole and for each one of us as individuals could be made known.
Kairos carries with it a sense of “decisive moments” - - which may also tie in with
the special events of our lives, but may be other moments too, when God acts or
intervenes in special ways to draw our attention to God, to shape us, to lead us, to
guide and direct us in God’s ways, to draw us to God in a new way; those “aha!”
moments when we understand something about life and God and our purposes in
life in a new or helpful way, that brings us closer to God, or enables us to know
God’s closeness to us in a new way…
Today’s intention is to remind us that even time belongs to God, that as we start
new things in a new calendar year, AND as we continue with old things through this
year, we can consciously live with an awareness of both those senses of time:
(1) The Chronos – the passage of time – day to day basic tasks of everyday
living that all of us are engaged in as well as special events and
remembrances and highlights; and being aware of God’s presence in all
these things
(2) The Kairos – being open to God using the chronos to draw us to greater
knowledge of himself, and at times intervening with kairos – defining
moments – those moments of “the light coming on” – “aha!” moments as
people often call them
Life is not just a matter of aimlessly living through events, or one diary appointment
after another, nor even of trying as best we can to shape events and our lives as
best suits us. Rather, HOW we live is the critical important issue: Experiencing life
in the knowledge of God’s presence, and of offering ourselves to God knowing that
all things come together in their rightful time.
4
As we continue in our worship, there are several ways and points in the service
when we can offer ourselves to God:
We can offer to God the calendar year that follows, asking that God’s will
and purpose for our lives (individual, family, church, work, community etc.)
be made known
Asking that in the regular expected events, and the sudden and unexpected
ones, we remain faithful to God and know that God’s plans for us will come
to fruition in their rightful time and ways
Telling God that we understand ourselves to be in partnership with God,
living as co-operatively as we can – and if necessary, for a first time or the
umpteenth time, pledging to live with Christ at the heart of our lives
We can do so…
In the prayers for the church that follow the sermon
In prayer after the service (elaborate)
In coming forward at communion – the phrase “communing with God”
suggests an intimacy, offering ourselves to God, open to receiving God’s
grace and being open to God’s intentions for us
And also in the words of the song that now follows:
Blessed be your name
Christian rock band “Tree 63”
One of their gentler songs
[Guinea pigs – Thursday 10.00am service last week – most people okayed it ]
Play it often in my car, my children love it and sing it with me
Good theology and very liturgical [thus a very Anglican rock song :) ]
Words of praise
Words of trust
Words of Intent – faithful to God, not fickle, even as circumstances change
Reality about positive and negative (cf. words)
Words as from Job, and 1 Tim: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away –
blessed be the name of the Lord” … these are words used from our Prayer
Book at funeral services, reminding us that ultimately all life belongs to God
Words printed in the leaflet, on the green-coloured insert [See page 5 below]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We offer ourselves, and time, and the span of our life, to God
Amen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
5
Song played at end of sermon
BLESSED BE YOUR NAME
[“Tree 63” – Christian Rock Band]
Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be
Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be your name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name
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