Redeeming the Time

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Having just turned 50 a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about time a little more than usual these days, and just a few weeks ahead of Lord’s Supper. It is not dreaded, depressed thoughts — only that keen awareness that time is not waiting for me. It is like that proverbial hound that dogs my trail. He’s more familiar than dreadful, though — if untamed.

Last week I received an unexpected call from an old friend of the family. It’s been 35 years since we’ve talked. And April 9 will be my thirty-fifth time to eat this sacred meal with my church family; I’m looking forward to it. But looking back at these big numbers, I cannot help but wonder: Where has the time gone?

I’m thinking about the other direction too. My sister phoned on my birthday to cheerfully announce that I was halfway to 100! Yep! It takes a sister to give you the good news. Time is marching on or slipping away, or whatever metaphor you like. As a Christian, I’m guided by the words of Apostle Paul: Best be “redeeming the time”; life is short (Ephesians 5:16).

The Lord’s Supper is a beautiful occasion to address time and its Lord. Luke’s account of that meal is the one I read most years at our service, mainly due to Jesus’ revealing, bi-directional teaching on time that fateful night:

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:17-19, NKJV throughout).

The cross is a point in time. It is history. We may rejoice that our Savior has redeemed time along with each of us. He “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). I am aware of it on this night above all others. At the Lord’s Supper, we sit at our points in time, our present, on a continuum. At Christ’s command we look forward to the kingdom of God coming and our reunion with Him. And at His command we also look backward to that night when He gave Himself for the cosmos and tamed time itself.

At the Lord’s Supper we gather to remember and anticipate the Lord of all and His gift for us. And that makes all the difference for the uncertain now. With His blood and His body our time — finite and fleeting, a “vapor,” James says (4:14) — is caught up and redeemed in His time, which, by a crucifixion then a resurrection, is timeless. As we drink and eat in Him, our timeline is stretched backward and forward into Divine time — the eternity of God over all.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God (Psalm 90:2).

This Lord has “been our dwelling place in all generations” (v. 1). He who is our King and Redeemer declares, “I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:17). This God-made-flesh puts my fifty years into perspective. I am thinking about time these days, but those thoughts are leading excitedly to the Lord of time whom the Lord’s Supper celebrates.

May we all redeem the times, knowing that our Lord has tamed time. And as we gather April 9, let’s look forward and backward joyfully and confidently in Christ. Praise His name forever!

 

 

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