|Photo by Ekik Witsoe on Unsplash|
Time has moved slowly for so many of us lately. We have waited and wait still for some form of normalcy to return. If there is one thing which we all have in common during this period it is time. We wear it on our wrists. It follows us through the day on signs outside a bank to the screen of our cell phone. We are all aware of time.
There was once a member of a parish who tightly regulated his life. If there was one thing one could be sure it was he constantly clocked events around him according to his wristwatch. Each Saturday he would show up for 6pm Vespers at precisely 5:50. He would constantly look at his watch and look up at the iconostasis as if he could will the royal doors to open at precisely 6 pm. One Saturday Vespers was late. Not only was it late but seemed to get later the more he looked at his watch. It wasn't until 6:07 that Vespers began that day. Afterwards he approached the priest while looking at his watch and reminded him of his tardiness. The priest smiled and said, "We're on Sacred time, not clock time. When I saw you looking at your watch I delayed Vespers until you gave up. Perhaps if you don't look at your watch so much next week, Vespers may be more fulfilling."
All was well the next week and the weeks that followed.
Sacred time has real meaning, One of the books in print at St. Tikhons Press is, "Time and Man" by professor Georgios Mantzaridis of Thessaloniki. In it he examines the relation of clock time and mental time in the light of Christ and Eternity. He reminds us that as members of Christ's Church we have "Eternity interwoven" into the very fabric of our lives. In practical terms, with Christ's help, we can separate ourselves from those fearsome future possibilities constantly presented to us and find peace and comfort in Christ now and forever.
The Morning Prayer of St. Philaret of Moscow comes to mind:
O Lord, grant me to meet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will. In every hour of the day, reveal Your will to me. Bless my dealing with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me how to pray, pray Thou Thyself in me. Amen.
In the Risen Christ,