December 24, 2008
An Eternal Moment
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
The very concept of time fascinates me. Add the prospect of eternity, and I get as dizzy as anyone. Still, I can’t help contemplating the mysteries of my little life running parallel to a greater human history, running parallel to a universe that doesn’t measure time in rotations of the earth but by the speed of light. And then – no longer running parallel to, but encompassing that straight line of history into some greater sphere – comes eternity. Or rather, there is eternity. Or will be. Or… well, you can see why my head starts hurting when I try to visualize this mystery.
A lot of my fascination with time and eternity centers on the eternal God (Isaiah 26:4) who allowed himself to be constrained by that which he had created – time. The tangled and complex poetry of T. S. Eliot best expresses my fascination with the Incarnation:
“Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in time and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history: transecting, bisecting the world of time, a moment in time but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment: for without the meaning there is no time, and that moment of time gave the meaning.” (from “The Rock, VII”)
Consider that last line again: “… time was made through that moment: for without the meaning there is no time, and that moment of time gave the meaning.” The first step of redemption began when the Jesus, who was “with God in the beginning,” stepped into time and allowed himself to be bound by it for a time.
I wonder if that act of limiting himself was how he began to enter into our suffering with us. He stepped into a world where the end point is death, and after that – a meaningless eternity away from any outside purpose. It took divine intervention – a breath of eternity – to change that.
Is your head starting to hurt like mine?
As I ponder these high and lofty mysteries that go way beyond my comprehension (Psalm 139:6), it’s tempting to let my head run away in the clouds with no practical application. But Ephesians says something very different:
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
There is a parallel from eternity to our days. Christ provided time with meaning, and modeled what it means to “redeem time” quite literally. All of the prophets and apostles lived with the light of eternity in their eyes, and that made their days all the more valuable. Instead of dropping off into nothingness away from God, we are galloping toward the moment when time becomes so full of meaning that it bursts into eternity. Let’s follow their example, shall we?
Intersecting Faith & Life: How do you treat your time? Do you use it wisely, deliberately, for a purpose? Or do you still treat it as if it has no value? A former professor once said that leisure time is important because it shows us where our hearts are, and what we value most. What does your leisure time say about you? Make a commitment with me to live deliberately this coming year, in the joy of what Christ has done for all time.