This past weekend, we experienced our annual blessing of an extra hour – perhaps for sleep! – as we turned our clocks back because of the end of Daylight Saving Time. It’s the yearly payback for that less pleasurable experience in the spring, when we set our clocks ahead and consequently show up an hour late for church on Sunday! But have you ever stopped to think about the significance of this time change?
I grew up in Indiana, which, for many years, did not participate in Daylight Saving Time. But the state finally converted, so I’ve had a few years of practice with changing the clocks in our home. As an adult, what strikes me as significant about this habit is how we can all agree that it is time to change the time.
Time orders so much of our lives, from when we go to church, to when we go to the doctor, to when the kids come home from school. And yet we have the ability to change it, so that what used to be 5 o’clock suddenly now is 4 o’clock, or vice versa. We are people whose lives run on schedules, but we are masters of the scheduling system itself at the same time.
When God came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth – in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4-5) – Christ came proclaiming a single message. His sermons were very short at the beginning. (Maybe I should take notes!) Mark 1:14-15 records one of them for us: “The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Times were changing in Jesus’s day. The way people came to God was about to change dramatically. No longer would it be necessary for people to offer animal sacrifices under the Jewish law. Instead, Jesus Christ himself would become the ultimate sacrifice for sin. No longer would people need to go to a human priest for their connection to God. Instead, Jesus Christ himself, fully God and fully man, would become the great high priest. No longer would people need to go to the temple in Jerusalem to meet God. Instead, Jesus Christ himself now enters into our own hearts; the temple has come to us!
Changing the time (by turning our clocks back an hour) is a powerful thing to do. But the changing times (in which Christ calls us to turn our hearts to him) are even more powerful. The message of Jesus Christ is the same today as it was then: the time has come, and the kingdom of God is near!
The Lord is in the business of changing lives. Are we being constantly transformed through our walk with him? Are we ready to spread the message of the gospel to a world that is changing every minute? Are we able not only to change our clocks but also to recognize when it is time to change? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to follow Christ with our lives? I pray that we are – or at least that we are willing to learn how.