A Musing about 525,600 minutes - 6/8/2022
God’s Eternity and Human Frailty
A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust
and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past
or like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.
For we are consumed by your anger;
by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
For all our days pass away under your wrath;
our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.
Turn, O Lord! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us
and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
Some things on social media absolutely drive me crazy. But there are also things that I love. While political rhetoric and hate-filled speech sometimes want to make me walk away from the internet and social media, pictures of families and friends from across the globe, especially their joys, keep me online.
And I have learned to scroll past lots of stuff in order to keep my blood pressure down.
Recently, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the graduation and end-of-school-year pictures.
Pictures showing the first and last day of a daughter from her 3rd-grade year in school.
A picture of a kindergartener graduating from kindergarten wearing a little robe and a cardboard graduation cap.
Pictures of lovely well-dressed teenagers from school proms and formals.
Pictures of my old college classmates standing with their children at their own child’s college graduation.
By the way, I cannot believe how many of my classmates have aged. It’s like college was 30 years ago. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened to me, and my college sweetheart Laura looks even younger than when I first met her at Presbyterian College – Go Blue Hose.
In many of these Facebook posts, comments say things like “oh my goodness, I cannot believe they have gotten that old,” or “ they have grown up so much,” or “wow, how time has flown.”
Of course, all of us experience the passage of time like that sometimes. There are moments when it seems time has flown by.
However, other segments of our life seem to go by so very slowly.
Time nearly stood still while Laura and I waited for the results of a pregnancy test to show up.
And I have spent what seemed like forever waiting for medical test results to come back from some lab.
It seemed like years, even though it was at most six weeks, as my family waited with my daughters for their college acceptance letters to arrive.
I have known folks who talked about seemingly waiting forever as they waited to hear back from whether or not they got a new job.
Time also moves slowly during times of grief. Those struggling with depression also describe how time seems to be at a standstill.
Of course, the reality is that time marches on at the same speed regardless of how we experience it.
However, the 90th Psalm seems to say that there are other ways that time can be measured. That time has very little meaning in God’s eyes, but we are all better off if we learn how to “count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”
In the late 1990s, the musical RENT made its debut. It was a hit, winning acclaim from both audiences and critics and bringing home both Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
Now I have never seen the show, but I am familiar with one of its hit songs that has become a successful stand-alone song. A variety of artists and choirs have covered it - folks from Donnie Osmond to the cast of Glee to high school and college choruses throughout the world.
Part of the lyrics are as follows -
525,000 moments so dear
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In 525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love
I think this is what the Psalmist was saying when the writer asked God to help us use our time wisely.
When we think back on the best times in our lives, I believe we discover the best of times are when we share love with others- be they close friends and family or even complete strangers.
In loving, we discover our greatest fulfillment and enjoyment of time. This happens when we experience the joy found only in loving others. In our seasons of love, our experience of time becomes a different quality that transcends how we count minutes, hours, and days.
Friends, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
Our call is to love others, and in doing so, the 525,600 minutes we have each year will be far more valuable than we could ever imagine.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.