Summary: This continues a series on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul calls us to live as resurrected Easter people - as people alive in a world of death.
Bibliography: Morning Has Broken, A Perfect World, Ladyhawk, Tootsie
How do you know when you’ve made it in life? What’s the icing on the cake in your life? For my grandmother, she considered her family successful when there was always a tablecloth on the dining room table. That tablecloth was very important to her.
For my mother, it was owning a piano. Her life was complete when she finally had a piano in the living room.
The icing on the cake for me has become the ability to retire to watch TV in bed before going to sleep.
I don’t know why. Its just the icing on the cake for me to be able to channel surf a few moments before lights out.
Somehow it means everything is OK in life.
We were doing that very thing a few nights ago when we happened across a Kevin Costner film I’d never seen before called A Perfect World, Costner plays an escaped Texas convict who kidnaps a little boy and then speeds across Texas while being pursued by sheriff Clint Eastwood.
Just as we turned the movie on, there’s a scene where Costner turns to the little boy he’s kidnapped who’s about 8 or so, and says, “You ever ridden in a time machine, kid?”
The little boy shook his head no to which Costner responded, “Sure you have. You’re in a 20th Century time machine right now.”
He points out the back window. “That right there is your past. Its where you’ve been.”
He points to the front windshield. “And that out there is your future. Its where you’re headed. And if you want to get to the future faster, you just step on this peddle here and you’ll get to your future faster.
“And if you want to take your time and get to your future slower, you just step on the break and you’ll go slower.”
Then Costner stops the car in the middle of the highway. He takes a long swig off a bottle of coke.
“This is the present kid. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
Then Costner and the kid speed off down the Texas highway.
Tonight our Bible lesson with Paul explores something that has fascinated us for centuries. One of the elements that humanity is bound by, cannot control, and that has no effect on God is time.
We’ve been fascinated with it for ages.
We know that God is timeless. God was with us in our past. God is present with us in the present, and God is waiting for us in our future.
The timelessness of God is a constant we rely on.
But as humans bound by time, we dream of the ability to reverse time, to escape the bonds of time.
H. G. Wells as well as many other authors wrote fictional stories that suggested the possibility of traveling forward and backward through time.
Einstein’s theory of relativity suggested to us that time is relevant to the speed of light. If we can travel faster than the speed of light - and we believe we will have the capability to do so some day - then we cause time to stop, and even go backwards through time.
Scientists have marvelled at the idea of being able to witness the Big Bang first hand, and see how the universe actually and truly came into being.
But did you know that quantum physics is proving that time travel is an incapability? As we approach the speed of light, time will not stand still, and it will never be possible to travel backwards through time.
Don’t ask me how it is so. I’m not a quantum physicist. I only know such scientists have now proven the incapability.
Time remains a binding aspect of human life. It is a limitation we cannot change, and is limitless to God.
But Paul provides us here with the key through the power of Jesus Christ of breaking the time barrier.
“...the time has come for you to wake from your sleep.” Paul writes, “For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. The night is nearly over, day is almost here.”
The night is nearly over, day is almost here.
There is a song in our hymn book written in the 1930’s and popularized by Cat Stevens in the 1970’s, Morning Has Broken.
Some of the words are these:
Morning has broken like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day.
You know, I wonder. Eleanor Farjeon, who wrote the song, when she speaks of morning coming like the first morning, what does she mean?