The Christian Vision of Time
· Time is a measurement of movement or events. For example, the days, months and years measure the motion of the earth around the sun; our activities from birth to death measure our lives. Time is often approached by what it is time for – time to plant, to each, etc. If anything reveals what time means to us, what it is for, it is our commitments and our promises. They will determine what sort of story we tell when we give an account of our lives.
· Our culture today has a very intense view of time. Unlike other cultures in the world, North Americans value how much an individual can produce in a limited amount of time. As a result, people value how many things they can do rather than how well we can do things. Likewise our culture values how others can help us accomplish more things rather than the quality of our relationships with others and God. Students often feel that their value is based on how much homework they do, how well they do in school and how many extra-curricular events they participate in. Rarely are they given help or recognition for developing close bonds with family, friends and God.
· Christian time celebrates the focal point of human time: the story of God with us. It celebrates the memory of particular events that continue to shape our covenant relationship with God. The central events of Christianity remember Jesus’ death and resurrection and his incarnation. Easter and Christmas are the high points of the Christian calendar. Every Sunday is like a “little Easter,” when we remember and celebrate the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Christians know that Jesus is the beginning and the end of time. He is the Lord of history.
· Lived time is an inner awareness of time as it is experienced in the events of our lives, rather than as it is measured by clocks. It comes out of our memory as we move through life and includes our past, present and our hope for the future. Example: “This class is never going to end!”
· The teaching of the final times.
· The tension in Christian time between the present time and the fullness of time
· The fullness of time is when creation and redemption will be complete, possibly at the end of time – the Second Coming of Christ.
· Genesis 1 states that the “Sabbath”, or Saturday, is the last day of creation on which the Lord rested. Jews keep holy the Sabbath day since it is the third commandment.
· Jesus rose from the dead on the “third day” which was Sunday and not Saturday. Unlike Jews, Christians view Sunday as the day on which creation was complete through the work of Jesus Christ. We now keep the Sabbath holy on Sunday instead of Saturday.
The Paschal Triduum
· The Paschal Triduum divides the year up into four blocks of time: Advent, Ordinary Time, Lent, and Ordinary Time. This helps us to stay focused on the fact that Christ transformed the world for all time. He did this through his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The Triduum allows us to focus on these points in his life.
How our View of Time Affects our View of Life
· If we view time as “Christian Time” we are more likely to view our entire life span as a gift from God. We realize that our time on earth is short and that the importance of life is to fulfill the covenant Jesus left us: Love one another and love God.
· If we live by another view of time, we will be frustrated and feel unfilled. The secular vision of time corrupts our essential nature as being made in the image of God and being one in the body of Christ. Christians believe in hard work as a reflection of the gifts and talents God has given and as a way for us to serve one another. Hard work is not an “ends” in itself or as a means of worshipping false Gods such as the wealth that hard work may bring.