The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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May 2018

Bits and pieces

Telling the Time
I was having a little button problem with the ATM. A message appeared on the screen. ‘Would you like more time?’ I clicked the ‘yes’ button, eventually collected my cash, and spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about that profound question. Well, would I? As an elderly man, do I really want more time, or am I content to face the fact that time is the raw material of our lives and eventually it runs out?

We exist within a framework of time: days, weeks, months, years. We can’t imagine life without it, and yet God, the Creator, is eternal, He simply and gloriously exists. That’s his Name – ‘I AM’. So if the end of time for us is to be with him, will we at last be free from its tyranny?

Most of my working life was dominated by time, so that seems a pleasant prospect. But in an unpredictable world our hearts break for those who lose a child or who die as we say ‘prematurely’. Sometimes those of us of riper years feel a kind of guilt: why not us? Thankfully, age will not be an issue in heaven. God doesn’t grow old. There will be no more dying, young or old. Like Him, we shall just sublimely be.

All of that, of course, is a matter of faith, and may seem irrelevant to those whose immediate concern is living in the here and now. But time simply ticks on, and one day that question may arise: Would you like more time? It’s easy to answer when life is full of promise, or as yet unfulfilled goals. It’s not quite so simple when early onset decrepitude threatens. For me, every hour of life is a gift of God, so it’s still the ‘yes’ button until a wiser hand intervenes: ‘your time is up”.

David Winter for Parish Pump

What is real? 
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become.   It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams,
published by HarperCollins Children's Books

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