Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90: 10-12
Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk carefully, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:14-17
Last Thursday, March 26th, I did an online livestream with our kids about dealing with the big changes we are dealing with in our lives due to the Coronavirus. What became apparent to me is that many of us struggle with what to do with our time, and I began to reflect on how we are called to be stewards of our time. Most of what we do has been programmed for us. We go to work, go to school, go to church, sing in a choir, play a sport, play an instrument, and so forth. Now many of our families are faced with ordering our lives without these “programmed choices” being available to us. Things are not being provided for us, and we are now asked: How are we going to manage the time given to us?
The two readings from Psalm 90 and Ephesians 5 call upon us to consider the following:
- When we are young, time seems to move so slowly, but as we age, the days “quickly pass, and we fly away.” To know the “power of Your (God’s) anger” is to rediscover that when God speaks, we need to take him seriously and listen. It is easy in times of wealth and plenty not to take God seriously and say, “I will deal with God later,” taking it for granted that there will be a later. So if we learn to “number our days” in order “to gain heart of wisdom,” we might not find it as difficult to do what we need to do with the time on our hands.
- To “redeem the time” and to understand “what the will of the Lord is” means using the time to learn what God wants me to do and then do it. This is how we redeem time. We seek to do those things that please God. But before we can do that, we need to come to know God Himself through a relationship of prayer and reading His Word as revealed in the Bible, in the Tradition of our Church, and in the lives of the Saints. Some of this we already know, but now we are given an opportunity to do this for a short time in a way we never imagined before.
So, in addition to doing our schoolwork from home, we spend our daily time saying our prayers, reading the Bible, reading the life of the daily saint. Through this consistent practice, we will come to know what the “will of the Lord is.” We enjoy our meals as a family, and as we give thanks, the Crucified and Risen Lord will come into our midst to visit us. Families can even have some fun together. Break out the table games you have in the closet that have been gathering dust, and play together. I saw a posting on Facebook of a priest and his family playing the game “Catan” (never heard of it). I thought it was great. I think what will come out of the difficult situation of this virus will be a greater appreciation for what we do have. God the Father will somehow use this tragedy to help us grow closer to Him, through His Son Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The blessing of the Lord be upon you.
With love in Christ,
The unworthy +Paul