Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time like a rolling stream. . .

Today my dad would have been 90.  He died two years ago last month, a month shy of 88.  I never thought of my dad as old.  He went to work every day of his life, except for the last few weeks of that life.  He was alert and seemed to know more than a little about a lot.  He was never fragile or weak in my mind (though he was hesitant to charge much for the work he did and that was one the drags on his business that we saw clearly in retrospect).  And I am over 60 (look at the side of this blog where it says I have been a pastor for more than 36 years!).   I like to be busy (perhaps too busy).  Time has passed quickly and I have no clue where it went.  Like a rolling brook, time as moved quickly by and now suddenly I realize how old my father was and how old I am getting.  But I am not going to waste time in deep introspection.  Only a few words to acknowledge that time, even a long life, is brief and too quickly passes away.

This past month my wife got out all our kids baby toys (yes, we will become grandparents soon) and in the blink of an eye I remembered when our children played with those baby toys and wondered why I had not noticed how quickly that time had come and gone.  The children who once required everything from parents, now grown up, married (two of them, anyway), and expecting a child (one of them).  Wow.  When did that happen?  Where was I?  I still feel like the 26 year old who showed up newly married, without children, and with only enough furniture for a few rooms into the parsonage of my first parish.  I guess those days are gone.

Life can sometimes trick us into thinking that everything will stay the same.  It is an illusion.  Perhaps delusion is a better term.  The clock is ticking.  We are not permanent.  We have no abiding home here.  We come and we go.  Time passes by and passes us by.  Though we were designed for eternity, the eternal is not today.  Redemption does not band-aid the temporary but bestows the surprise of the eternal to a people caught in time.  Time passes.  Not aimlessly but toward the goal God has assigned.  In Christ, we have more than regrets over a past too quickly gone, we have hope for an eternal future.  I miss him, to be sure, but I expect to see him when I behold Christ face to face.

1 O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal home:

2 Under the shadow of Thy throne
    Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
    And our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood
    Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
    To endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in Thy sight
    Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night
    Before the rising sun.

5 Thy word commands our flesh to dust:
    "Return, ye sons of men!"
All nations rose from earth at first
    And turn to earth again.

6 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
    Soon bears us all away;
We fly forgotten as a dream
    Dies at the op'ning day.

7 Like flow'ry fields the nations stand,
    Pleased with the morning light;
The flow'rs beneath the mower's hand
    Lie with'ring ere 'tis night.

6 O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last
    And our eternal home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Lord Hath Brought Me Hitherto
Tune: Allein Gott in der Höh

The Lord hath brought me hitherto
By His surpassing favor;
His mercies ev’ry morn were new,
His kindness did not waver.
God hitherto hath been my Guide,
Hath pleasures hitherto supplied,
And hitherto hath helped me.

I praise and thank Thee, Lord, my God,
For Thine abundant blessing
Which heretofore Thou hast bestowed
And I am still possessing.
Inscribe this on my memory:
The Lord hath done great things for me
And graciously hath helped me.

Help me henceforth, O God of grace,
Help me on each occasion,
Help me in each and ev’ry place,
Help me through Jesus’ Passion;
Help me in life and death, O God,
Help me through Jesus’ death and blood;
Help me as Thou hast helped me!

Bis hieher hat mich Gott gebracht
Ämilie Juliane, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, 1699
Tr. August Crull, 1882, alt.
Source: The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, No. 33, alt.

Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart