The Healing Flow of Time

The end of summer reminds us of the change of seasons, the transition from one way of living to another. Of all the cycles of time that are at work in our life, the seasons show themselves to be the most dramatic, since the world around us changes in so many ways.

There are also smaller cycles, passed by without notice, like the cycle of a single day. How many events unfold between sunrise and sundown? How many conversations do we have, or private moments; how many prayers are offered by Orthodox Christians around the world? And no matter how we measure or divide the day—evening and morning, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second—there is always some smaller way of measuring time, a more powerful magnifying glass to look through.

Every moment is a cycle—the past fades away even as we grasp it, and we anticipate events that may or may not come to pass. Time manifests itself as living water, rushing around us, refusing to be grasped, stopped or reversed.

We should expect the life of the Church to reflect the cycles of our life, because the life of the Church is the life for which we were made. Indeed, the Church has its own cycles: the daily cycle of prayer, the weekly cycle of tones, the monthly cycle of the saints, and the yearly cycle of the Great Feasts.

Thus the Church gives meaning to time, and proclaims her unique vision of it: Time is a creature of God, and He employs it as a salve for our healing. The cycles of the Church become a teacher for us, aiming to instill the appreciation of every single moment as its own world. And in the world that we are given moment by moment, God also gives us the freedom to invite Him into it, so that He might fill it with His presence, His Glory, and His providential Love.

There is no such thing as “ordinary time” or an “ordinary” or “normal” day. There is only the world of the present moment, and the incredible freedom God has given us to do with it as we please. Those moments in which we so clearly felt the presence of God become the standard-bearers. They speak to us of the Kingdom and prove that its doors are open to us here and now. Those moments of communion with God are more precious than any of our possessions. They are our abiding assurance that God’s love for us is steadfast, even in a world that changes with every moment.

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