Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On Taking Time

[I noticed some fairly glaring spelling a gramar errors and have corrected them this morning 8/17/2005.]
This evening I had a meeting for Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler and the meeting was walking distance from the apartment. There is a homeless man named Leonard who lives in our neighborhood, and Kate and I talk to him when we see him and occasionally have provided him with money or food: he hangs out these days at the bus stops near our local grocery store. As it happens I passed him this evening on the way to the meeting, and he wanted to talk to me (and asked for money and food). For a moment I was about to brush him off, I had an appointment to make, but then I realized that I had left the house in time and that since I was not only on time but had left myself more than enough time to get to my appointment. So I had time to talk with Leonard even though I did not have money to give him nor time to buy him a sandwich or something else to eat. I realized I had time for Leonard and that (without knowing it) had made time for him by leaving with time to spare. For the first time in awhile I was not rushing to an appointment. I could take time for what or who I encountered on the way: This evening that person was Leonard.
As I said goodbye to Leonard and headed down the sidewalk to my appointment I wondered what was the difference, what had lead to this leaving the house early and then given me the mindset to take time for Leonard. I concluded it was my returning to the regular rhythms of prayer that is the discipline of our rule. For the sake of the film I had only sporadically kept any of the regular Hours of prayer, and it has been difficult in the following weeks to return to that rhythm. but in the past few days I have found myself back in that rhythm.
I know I have spoken before of this relation between keeping the Daily Office and our use and conception of time. I believe this connection is one of the reasons the Daily Office exists. Prayer, the Daily office is in a large part about taking time: taking time to be formed by God, to sit in God's presence. The Daily Office is in part a discipline of taking time.
It is a beautiful night here in Chicago, it has been cool the past couple of days and today began to warm up again but the evening was beautiful. Walking back from my appointment I was still ruminating over my encounter with Leonard and my willingness and ability to take time for him. Which lead me to think that sanctification, theosis, requires our taking time. Then the passage from Genesis in the account of the Fall came to me: "They Heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze." God took time, God took time by entering time in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Adam and Eve hid themselves from God. We can hide our selves from God and ourselves through our rushing. Taking time for prayer, for the Daily Office lessens my ability to hide in my busyness. It perhaps even sets in me a pattern of taking time for others, even a homeless man named Leonard.
I am resolving to work toward being able to take more time; to leave on the way to work or to other appointments in time to be able to take time along the way.
The Abba and the Amma's of the church often talk about mindfulness, I have a sense that part of mindfulness is being in the mindset of taking time for God and God's creation and creatures, especially our fellow human persons.

1 comment:

Justin said...

Thank you for posting this Larry. It is a good remeinder.