Time Would Fail Me

Proper 15 texts at www.textweek.com

Isaiah 5:1-7          Jeremiah 23:23-29          Hebrews 11:29-12:2          Luke 12:49-56

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.         Hebrews 11:39-40

The clock is ticking.

Depending on what you want to measure, what you’re most afraid of or excited about or mourning over, it may be the Doomsday clock you hear, or your biological clock, or the game clock as your team rallies for one last score. It may be life expectancy, not so much tick-tocking as beating with your heart. It may be a milestone–a cap and gown, a wedding march–the hours rushing by in mere seconds. It may be a deathbed, every eternal minute in each fading breath.

It may be a story, paced out in plot formation and character development, ticking away steadily from Once Upon A Time to Happily Ever After. 

“And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell…” (Heb. 11:32)

… this story, with action ascending to a climax. Seawaters dividing in halves to make a way into freedom; impenetrable walls crumbling at the fanfare of trumpets; Rahab’s red streamer fluttering in the breeze, signifying salvation. We are surrounded by a cloud of plotlines, and they are our testimony. In them, we will tell the story of the health of our earth, the investment of faith in our children and in the lessons of letting go, the times we rally and the times we choke, our championship parades and our epic fails.

“And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell…”

… this story, with a Testament’s worth of heroes and villains (and sometimes both at once). The child Samuel hearing God’s voice from his sleeping bag; David the lowly shepherd, ruthless murderer, beloved King; horn-blowers and lion-tamers and desert-wanderers, women and men suffering and celebrating and prophesying and proclaiming and surrendering their very lives for the story. We are surrounded by a cloud of characters, and they are our castmates. With them, we will tell the narrative of our own hearts, the ways we harden them and the times we open them; the landmarks, relationships, and achievements that shape our spirits; the laments that break us apart, and the loves that live on in us and mend us back together, cell by cell.

“And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell…”

… this story, and the resolution to the tale. Time will fail before the final tying-up of loose ends, when the Pioneer who started the story will bring it to its perfect conclusion. The clock is ticking toward that day, and we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses waiting to welcome us there. They’re watching with interest as we take up our part in the telling, lift pen to paper, rest our fingertips on A-S-D-F J-K-L-semi-colon. They’re patient with us as we stare at the blank page and the empty screen, because “God has promised them something better”: that their story will not be complete without ours.

First published 8/14/2016 on www.bwim.info/blog

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