Time…less: a farewell from the Rev David Wood

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Time…less: a farewell from the Rev David Wood

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today, And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

‘Time’ from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.

Pink Floyd

It was in August 2005 that I was first approached about the possibility of applying for the post of Priest-in-Charge of what were then three parishes; Barton, Pooley Bridge and Mar- tindale. Interviews followed and I was appointed and started in December that year. Almost thirteen years later and the time has come to move on. Well, retire.

Where have they gone? It seems almost no time at all since that first early service at Barton, 8.00 a.m. on December 3rd, 2005.

Time has long fascinated human beings: “a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance:” a thought that has been picked up by Martin Smith in a track from his new album ‘Love Song for a City’ with ‘a time for singing.’ Interesting though to ask the question ‘What is time?’ It can be measured yet seems to be extremely flexible. A second is defined like this: “one second elapses during the occurrence of exactly 9.192631770 x 109 cycles of the radiation produced by the transition between two levels of the cesium 133 atom.” as if that helps.

The writers of the Psalms recognise that time can be long yet for their God it seems almost immaterial: “a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past.” with the result that “the days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty if we are strong …” but … “they are soon gone and we fly away.

One question philosophers raise about time is “does it exist when nothing is changing?” We live at a time (!) when it feels as though everything is changing, and that includes church life. Yet we worship a god who is said to be unchanging. The psalm writer again:

“Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure: they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away; but you are the same and your years have no end.”

The writer James puts it like this: “with (God) there is no variation or shadow due to change” and the old prophet Malachi like this; “For I the Lord do not change: therefore you … have not perished.

In other words, for the Lord’s people there is absolute assurance of God’s constancy. He is unchanging; utterly reliable, utterly trustworthy. In that sense he is timeless.

We can come to him with whatever concerns us and know that whatever answer we get will be the perfect one for us.

Of course, to say that we trust him and then to act as though that were true are two different things. That is part of the journey, learning to bring those two things together. God bless you.

David Wood.