Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keeping Time


The music twirled and lifted under the spotlighted gaze of the audience in the twilight hall. Beside me, little Anne resonated, feet swinging gently, fingers twiddling tiny conductor’s patterns. Baby Winston bounced in time on my knee. Three rows down, a child who was big enough to know better set up a fuss, “It’s mine!” she whined.

God conducts the music of unfolding history every day for us. Will we pay attention? Will we resonate, keeping time to His patterns? Or will we with our own agendas and our beeper watches set up some other measure?

God’s Creation is set up especially to speak of Him, and the rhythms of time are no exception. The week is explicitly established as a pattern of seven with the cadences of work danced in demonstration by God Himself. Ever wonder who came up with a seven-day week? Why not a neat ten? Genesis 1 and 2. The first work week in history.

When God established a Sabbath day one day out of seven, He explained that this was intended to be our pattern in imitation of Him.

“Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work,…For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hollowed it.” (Ex 20:9-11)

And in so doing, He invites us to look carefully at the rest of His work week to discern other patterns of work that we should imitate in order to be effective. I discussed an example of these patterns in Liturgy of Learning.

Can we arrange our time so that our schedules reverberate with God’s messages to us? So that our work patterns remind us that there is a greater Work that we imitate? So that even washing dishes takes on a beautiful dignity? Oh yes!

James Jordan, in his book, Primeval Saints, has a wonderful study of the manner in which worship transforms our work and enables us in turn to transform the broken, ugly and unformed into something more and more glorious.

Jordan points out that God models for us again and again the six-fold pattern for our work.

  1. We lay hold on the world.
  2. We give thanks.
  3. We break it up and restructure it.
  4. We distribute it to others.
  5. We evaluate it.
  6. We enjoy it.
Does this look familiar? It is the pattern of the Creation Week, of the Old Testament sacrificial system, of the Communion service, and (except for the thanksgiving part) it is a pattern that we cannot help but follow. Jordan maintains that if we, as believers, discipline ourselves to give thanks, it is the pattern for dominion, for cultural revitalization. (from Liturgy of Learning)

This can be the pattern for daily life. As you sit down on a Sunday to imitate God in the arranging of your coming week,
1. Lay hold of your lists and calendars.
2. Give thanks for the time you have been given and for the help you have in your children (or co-workers)
3. Divide your work into manageable tasks.
4. Distribute them to the days and hours at your disposal, and to the small helpers at your knee.
5. Consider whether you can really do all that. Does something need to move or be re-assigned to another worker? Or maybe it just needs to be ditched. Leave room to be interrupted. Leave room for God to re-assign His work to you in the measure of the dance.
6. Enjoy the rest that knowing your work will be done decently and in order brings.
Your life will never be the same.
"Has someone seen the life I planned?
It seems it's been misplaced
I've looked in every corner
It's lost without a trace..."

~ Beth Moore~
From the poem: "The Life I Planned "
This week, I hope you dance...

Next time: Time Memorials

Read other great thoughts about plans and time at this week's meme:


5 comments:

Ame said...

wow ... this is very intruiging to me as i'm trying to re-learn healthy ways to manage my days! i'll have to save this and come back to it again later as i mull it over - thanks!

Amydeanne said...

I love your list!
What a break down of it all! Truly appreciated!

MiPa said...

Beautifully said! Thank you.

Joy said...

Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

Darlene said...

That was wonderful. I echo Ame with a "wow." Not only was that inspiring, the first paragraph blew me away as it was written so well.

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