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									The timekeeper – being Christ in the circumstances of life
Years ago there was a cave-in at a coal mine in northern England. Twelve miners
called out their names in the dark. No one seemed to be hurt. As they waited in the
darkness, one miner yelled out, “Timekeeper! Can you tell us how we’re doing for
time? How long do you think we can last?” The timekeeper said, “It’s ten thirty.
We’ve got two hours of oxygen, by my reckoning. We’ll be all right. We’ll be fine.”

They listened quietly. Occasionally a miner would call “Time?” and the timekeeper
would announce, with a flare of a match, “Fifteen minutes. We’ll be fine, lads.” The
timekeeper always marked off small increments, each time encouraging. With only
minutes of oxygen left, the sweet sound of rescuers was heard.

Of the twelve, all but one survived. The timekeeper alone died. The village priest said,
“It’s a miracle that any of you survived! You’ve been trapped down there for over six
hours!” As they carried out the timekeeper’s body, one of the miners took the pocket
watch from his co-worker’s vest. It had been broken in the accident. The hands of the
watch were stopped at ten thirty. (From a story by Tony Cowan)

Thanks to the timekeeper, all the others survived. It would have taken mere moments
to use up the remaining oxygen in a fit of panic as time waned.

The timekeeper in this story is an example of a Christian life. “As the father has sent
me, so I send you” (John 20:21) into the world to bring the good news of salvation.
As servants of the Lord we need to be self-sacrificing and full of hope, just like the

“Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mark
16:15). As Easter people we have much joy and hope to share. No matter what the
circumstance, even in the face of death, we do not lose hope and we trust in the love
of God revealed through Christ.

The circumstances of our birth, our education, our finding ourselves in this moment
and time of hope is nothing short of miraculous. The privilege of having been brought
into God’s family is one for which we need to be grateful.

Like the timekeeper in the story, our role is to serve others, to be the hope of life and
resurrection. Then Christ will say to us, as I’m sure he said to the timekeeper when
his earthly journey of service was ended, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

(432 words)

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