Because life is a series of edits

Gone in 60 Minutes

In Thought on November 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Much to my delight, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, which means we "fall back" one hour and return to "standard" time. Perhaps you share my same thought: it will really be nice to get up with daylight.

Lewis Mumford, in his 1934 book, Technics and Civilization, argued that the most impacting invention of the past 800 years was not the printing press or electricity, but the clock (created in the 1300s). Mumford explained that the Israelites were "time keepers" who evaluated their days by seasonal watches, the Romans were "time savers" who broke their days up into hours, but we Americans are "time servers," fragmenting our days into minutes and even seconds (and driving ourselves crazy in the process).

Former New York University professor, Neil Postman, quoting Mumford's theory in Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, summarized our preoccupation this way:

“We learned irreverence toward the sun and seasons, for in a world made up of seconds and minutes, the authority of nature is superseded. The clock introduced a new form of conversation between man and God, in which God appears to have been the loser. Perhaps Moses should have included another commandment: Thou shalt not make mechanical representations of time."

I'm guessing we're all glad for the extra 60 minutes in our weekend, but how do we plan to use them? Perhaps the best use of that extra hour would be confessing our sin of worshipping the clock instead of the Creator. For most of us, eternity is going to come as a shock in terms of time-keeping (i.e. there won't be any), so why not – even for an hour – attempt a sneak preview this weekend? Perhaps we can pray anew the prayer of the psalmist when he wrote:

"So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

In light of the extra hour, why not call a family meeting this weekend, evaluate your calendars, and talk about these things with your kids? Let's bring them into this important conversation and talk honestly about our need to resist serving time in order to serve the God who transcends time instead.

Have a good and long(er) weekend.

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