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… being attentive to the times of the day: when the birds began to sing, and the deer came out of the morning fog, and the sun came up. The reason why we don’t take time is the feeling that we have to keep moving. This is a real sickness. We live in the fullness of time. Every moment is God’s own good time, His kairos. The whole thing boils down to giving ourselves in prayer a chance to realize we have what we seek. We don’t have to rush after it. It was there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
I was thinking of these words of Merton, realizing how quickly the summer is passing and how all of us, in the church and in our daily lives, are anticipating the return, in earnest, to the work of the fall. We do not to be told that time is sacred: the church marks it through the observance of the lectionary, daily through the celebration of the offices and hourly through the prayers of the faithful. We have been reminded through vacations and visits with loved ones how deeply important time is, that all relationships we have are imbued with our understanding of the brevity of our lives and our time with each other.
Merton’s reminder that all time is kairotic time, God’s time, is revealing as we make our final trips and plans for the summer before the beginning of the program year. His reflection specifically refers to prayer, but it includes the gift of time that we give to the church and its programs. Starting in the new year, we have an opportunity to offer ourselves and our time to many activities at St. Paul’s, from education to outreach to liturgical ministries. The Chester Children’s Chorus will be with us on September 9 and we anticipate a performance later in the fall by the Widener Chorale. Our relationship with Chester Eastside is strengthening, bearing fruit in a new educational program for the community that will also resume in the fall. We will spend some time getting to know our neighbors at CEI and St. John’s, Essington at a barbecue on August 19. My hope is that we will be able to prayerfully consider how to give ourselves and our time in the new year to the spiritually nourishing work that we are offering, for the good of the Church, the parish and our souls.
The Rev. Z. Mark Smith