The Wandering Pulpit – Taking Time
So, how do you feel about daylight saving time? Are you one of those who love it because it now magically appears that you have an extra hour of daylight to enjoy? Or are you one of those who would move to Arizona to escape this madness if only triple digit numbers were not common place during the summer? Most of us probably land somewhere in between these two extremes (at least I hope so anyway). No matter though how you feel about springing forward, that time has come…or gone…or we have gotten it back from last fall…something like that anyway. Personally, I can’t help but wonder if in some way this crazy idea of daylight saving time is in line with what Daniel 7:25 says in regards to the Anti-Christs work, “…and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law…” I speak facetiously of course for in the end daylight saving time isn’t really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
Among the many positives of springing forward there is one thing that stands out to me and that is I feel I notice a lot more sunsets after the time change than before. This, I believe, comes mostly from the changing seasons but I think I notice it much more with that sharp lost hour of sleep. I, like most people I imagine, thoroughly enjoy watching the sunset. Many of my fondest memories as a teenager are times of watching the sunset behind the Rocky Mountains with my friends while preparing a bonfire. I also greatly cherish the memories of going on walks with Kathy during our college years watching the sunset light up the bluffs and prairie of Wyoming. Sunrises are also very spectacular but I know for myself I rarely stop to enjoy them because I am off first thing trying to accomplish what I want to for the day. With the sunset, however, it naturally signals the end of the day and for most of us our labors. I think one of the reasons sunsets are so special is because when you get a really good one you can’t help but stop and admire it. It will force you to stop whatever you are doing and just look at it.
I believe sunsets can function a lot like the burning bush that God used to get Moses’s attention in Exodus 3. They draw us in and provide us with something we cannot ignore. Just like a burning bush that doesn’t burn in the back of the desert! God made that burning bush not just to get Moses’s attention but also so that He could speak with him and Moses would stop long enough to listen. Years ago when I first thought of this, I asked myself a question “What does God want to say to me through this burning evening sky?” That question then turned into “What does the sunset say?” And in response to that question I wrote the following while watching God’s created beauty on full display from my study one evening.
We read in Scripture of nature declaring God’s glory (Psalm 19:1-6), we read of nature crying out longing to be released of the curse of sin (Romans 8:18-22) but what does the sunset say? I look upon a fiery glowing sunset that changes with each moment but in such small ways that we fail to notice as it happens. But it happens all the same with each moment giving a new shade of red, orange, yellow, blue, purple and pink. The clouds can sometimes keep the sunset at bay but more often they add to its grandeur playing with colors and shadows in a way the sky cannot on its own. What do the clouds say? What do they sing as they bask in the majestic shower of the evening sun? Do they cry out in unknowable sounds declaring the Lords majesty saying, “See this beauty, this is the best we can do to describe to you the glory of our Creator.” Do they cry out “Lord You are mighty and beautiful and worthy of all praise.” Or do they cry out to man saying, “Another day of life comes to a close, be prepared for the night that will fall upon your life when all grows dark and cold.” Do they teach us saying that the most beautiful part of our lives is to be before we slip away? Or does the sunset remain speechless before God with nothing to say but simply to exist as what it is and in doing so this silent splendor does all that God intends it to. Such things are beyond me for I am but a man but none the less the sunset ministers to me. I cannot help but be moved by it and cry out myself to God saying, “You are great and powerful in Your beauty oh Lord my Creator.” As I wonder to myself if there is no need for the sun in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:5) what will happen to this great demonstration of God’s beauty? For I think that I would miss it yet once again I find myself in a familiar place. The place where I know that the Lord is right in all that He does and that whatever He has in store it is for the best with no argument from me.
When is the last time you took a moment just to be still and observe God’s creation? This is a good practice for us to get into but only if we will take a wandering moment and consider what God desires to reveal to us about Himself in those times (Romans 1:20). One of my favorite things to do is to get up into the mountains and just enjoy the beauty around me but that happens very rarely in my life and I know the same is true for nearly everyone else I know. So may I suggest a substitution? Instead of looking bigger, look smaller. Instead of looking at the forest look at a tree and then look at a branch and then a leaf or a piece of bark. Instead of looking to the flowery meadows, look to an individual flower pedal or a blade of grass. Take a moment to examine its texture, its construction, its purpose and realize that its tiny little details are things we pass by every day without even a passing thought. Yet it is fully known and ordained by God. He made it on purpose for a purpose. Just as He made you and me. As this pulpit finishes its wanderings for today please continue your own by choosing to take moments to notice God’s smaller details in creation along with the awe inspiring big ones we cannot ignore and while doing this consider the words of Jesus which He spoke in Matthew 6:25-34.