TIME – WHO CAN COMPREHEND IT?

My husband and I had occasion to talk about time the other day.  Specifically, we were speaking about how it seems like something that happened one year ago seems as though it happened yesterday and, at the same time, seems as though it happened many years ago.  We know the date of the occurrence, and we know the current date, but time seems to both telescope into the distant past as well as coming down to the microscope of yesterday.

I suspect you have had those same feelings.

Dover cliffs
The white cliffs at Dover, England.

When we were in England about 8 years ago, we saw the white cliffs at Dover, England, something that my Dad talked about seeing during the war.  They were beautiful, and it was an experience that I treasured having.  It seems that it was yesterday when we were walking on that path; but it also seems as though we were there at least 20 years ago because of the multitude of experiences that we have had since then.

How can our concept of time be so fluid when, in fact, time is one of the most measured and constant things we have in our world.  Every year has 365 days in it (except for leap year, then it is 366), every day has 24 hours in it, every hour has 60 minutes.  We know this … yet sometimes it seems the days go by slowly and other times it seems the time flies past us.

We know from the account of creation that God created all things, including the establishment of time for our universe. 

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

Genesis 1:1-5

That is how we still speak of time – the morning and the evening is one day. 

Although God created time, God is not bound by it.  Indeed, God is eternal.  Not only will God exist undiminished everlastingly into the future, but He has existed identically throughout the infinite past.

God told Moses His Name in Exodus 3:14:  “And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”  No beginning and no end.  God IS.   

Jesus, as one part of the Trinity, is God and is, like the Father, eternal, with no beginning and no end.  In Hebrews 13:8 we read:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

But that is not all that speaks to us about time.  Scripture also says this:

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter 3:8

We are finite creatures, not like the infinite eternal God.  But I wonder if God gives us a taste of what is like when we seem to have the same event in the recent past as well as in the long past.  It would seem that this might be the case given Peters words in his second epistle. 

There is much that I don’t know.  But, I do know this – God is my powerful, infinite, personal, awesome God, and He is far beyond the limits of time.  He knows the past and He knows the future, both for the universe in a cosmic sense and yet for me personally, even though I am no more than a humble creature that is less than a miniscule dot on the planet.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

Father, I thank You for the gift of life, the gift of salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit.  You know the future that has been planned for me, and I am secure and confident in Your hands.

PALACES, DOMINION, AND ME?

I watch the BBC drama Downton Abbey when it is being aired, and I will record it if I am not able to see an episode when it first comes on television. We have DVDs of the earlier seasons and will watch those episodes on occasion “just because.”

 

One of the main characters, in my humble opinion, is the castle itself.  Rather than being called Downton Abbey, the castle’s real name is Highclere Castle. It is located in Hampshire, England and is the home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. It is an imposing, but beautiful, castle which is decorated with exquisite furniture, massive portraits and paintings, ornate staircases … well, suffice it to say that it is what little girls dream of when thinking of the princess in the palace!

 

I recognize that Downton Abbey is a drama and that it is a fictional representation of how titled English landowners lived in earlier days. But for me as an American, who has never lived in that type society, it is a fascinating look at how the Dukes, Duchesses, Ladies and Lords lived while the servants were living and working behind the scenes.

 

When we were in England several years ago, we did not see Highclere Castle but we did have occasion to see a number of other castles and palaces.

 

I had always heard of the White Cliffs of Dover, so we went to Dover, England and discovered an incredible castle, thriving busy port, and beautiful chalk cliffs.

Dover cliffs
The white cliffs at Dover, England.

 

According to information obtained about Dover Castle,  William the Conqueror strengthened the defenses at Dover with an earthwork and timber stockade in 1066, and from that point on, Dover Castle was garrisoned uninterruptedly until 1958. The stone castle was built by King Henry II in the 1180s and it sits above the white cliffs where there is the shortest sea crossing distance between England and the continent.

Dover castle 2
Dover Castle sitting high above the cliffs and defending the narrowest waterway between England and the continent.

 

Dover Castle was an incredible example of a medieval castle. In short, the trip to Dover, England was great!

 

Of course, we also visited Buckingham Palace in London. The crowds made it difficult to get a picture of the palace in its entirety, but suffice it to say, it was huge, and beautiful.

Buckingham palace
Buckingham Palace, London, England.

This is Buckingham Palace from the gardens between the commercial area and the palace. The palace is protected by a huge gate as well as uniformed officers.

Buckingham palace guiard
Buckingham Palace guard.

 

We also had the privilege of going to see Blenheim Palace, the place where Winston Churchill was born. Today, it is the residence of the 12th Duke of Marlborough.

 

It, too, was immense and ornately furnished. We were not able to take pictures inside and the outside was undergoing some renovation, but the scope of the palace is clear.

 

This picture is of the gate that you go through before you get to the palace building itself.

Blenheim palace Gate
Blenheim Palace Gate.

 

After you go through the gate, you come into a courtyard with the palace surrounding you on three sides.   This is one of the sides of the palace.  On the right edge of the you can see the main section of the palace.  There was a great deal of renovation work going on so we were not able to get good pictures of the front of the palace itself.

Blenheim palace buildings
One part of Blenheim Palace. Incredible beauty on a gigantic scale.

 

The palace grounds were beautiful.  This is just a small portion of the grounds surrounding the palace.

Blenheim palace grounds
Just some of the palace grounds surrounding Blenheim Palace.

 

The size of the palace was mind-numbing for me. A picture of one of the statues that surrounded the walkway outside the palace with a man standing nearby is, for me, a real perspective setter.

Blenheim palace statuary
Statue at Blenheim Palace.

 

Obviously, I cannot imagine living in this type of opulent surroundings, complete with the incredibly large staff that would be required to run the place.

 

But, watching Downton Abbey brings into sharp relief one clear fact.

 

The lord was the absolute ruler of the house and realm associated with the palace. Indeed, the serving staff referred to the Lord of the house as “M’lord” and his wife was “M’lady”. No first names … no pet names … no familiarity expressed, even though they may have known many secrets about the family members. The immutable fact of sovereignty over-rode anything else.

 

Simple as that. The will of the master was controlling and it was carried out by those under his authority. In short, the lord of the house had dominion over all his realm. Even the people in the village attached to the castle would bow or give homage to the lord of the estate when he rode past. This was the person who had control of their destiny; this was the person whose will would prevail and to whom they were subject.

 

The Old Testament prophet named Daniel had a vision of the son of man who was given dominion over all things:

 

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14 ESV

 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Daniel 7:27 ESV

 

Here, the word “dominion” was taken from the Aramaic, and the transliterated word used is sholtan. The meaning for this term is “sovereignty” or “realm”.

 

Imagine living in a realm where the One in charge has full dominion and authority. Imagine a Sovereign who is loving and Who puts the interests of those in His realm over His own. Imagine a realm where the Sovereign is not questioned and His edicts are not reversed.

 

Imagine living in a realm where the Sovereign loves us so much that He died in our place so that we become His redeemed people. Imagine being under the sovereign rule of the Child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, Who was, is and always will be the One who bears the name: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, … Jesus.

 

If you have not watched Downton Abbey, check it out. I think you will find the setting beautiful and the interaction between characters intriguing.

 

But, on a matter of eternal significance, if you have not met the Lord of all Creation Who will have a kingdom where all dominions will serve and obey Him, open your Bible and meet Jesus.

 

And, if you have met Jesus, and He is your Lord and Savior, then bend the knee, humble yourself, and thank Him for the salvation that has been given to you, for His grace and mercy and love, and seek to know Him more and more each day in this new year.

 

Father, help me to love you more, help me to serve you, and help me to learn more of your holiness, love, mercy and grace so that I can reflect that to those I come in contact with at home, work, school, church. Thank you for your Spirit and for your grace.