Vandalia United Methodist Church

From the Pastor's Study

Are There Clocks in Heaven?

On an island off Norway, north of the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn’t set from May 18 to July 26, a full 69 days. The locals, having endured the long polar night from November to January, when the sun doesn’t rise at all, make the most the precious months filled with sunlight, with no regard to conventional timekeeping. “There’s constant daylight, and we act accordingly,” said one islander. “In the middle of the night, which city folk might call ‘2 a.m.,’ you can spot children playing soccer, people painting their houses or mowing their lawns, and teens going for a swim.”

In what seems to be an effort to boost tourism, residents of the island gathered at a town hall meeting to sign a petition for a time-free zone. One official stated, “To many of us, getting this in writing would simply mean formalizing something we have been practicing for generations.” Islanders hope to be free of traditional opening hours and to introduce flexibility in school and working hours. Fishing and tourism are the main industries on this island with a population of little more than 300 people. . . Local fishermen and women often spend days on the ocean pursuing their catch, with little regard to timetable.” (Maureen O'Hare, CNN)

Then 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 1:3-5)

The first creation story in Genesis chapter one tells us that light and darkness were created on day one, before the creation of the sun and the moon which occurred on day four. Thus, the first item of creation was time. God created chronos for the physical universe. My dad’s ‘66 Chrysler Newport had a “chronometer” in its dash. It was a square, silver-colored analog clock that had difficulty keeping accurate time. It took me a while before I understood that a chronometer was a device that measures “chronos,” physical time. It was a clock!

For those of us in this world, time is a burden. We either have too much time or too little. For children Christmas eve can be a painfully long period of time, while Christmas day passes all too quickly. Parents can yearn for more hours in the day, while some of the lonely find their days painfully long. Chronos is of our world; it speaks of beginnings and endings. We human beings are bound by chronos; as we were born into this world, so we will die and depart from it. As our sun was set into motion by God’s hand, one day it will collapse and die.

Chronos has limits. It does not speak of eternity, but kairos does. Technically, this Greek word for time speaks of the “opportune moment.” Think of it as time measured in terms of quality rather than quantity. This is the time of God’s world. It has no beginning, and it has no end. The passing of time is measured in terms of quality. Kairos comes to mind when you gather with friends that you haven’t seen in a while and you start to reminisce. You don’t immediate recall how long ago it was; but rather, you begin your recollection with the feelings of excitement over a memory. It’s only later that chronos creeps into your mind when you realize how long ago the memory took place.

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)

Heaven is where we continually dwell with God; and since God is light, there will be no darkness in heaven. Since our time in heaven is kairos time; there is no beginning, and there is no end. God has no beginning, and God has no end. The creator of time in our physical world will always be, and how comforting that is. When we enter the kingdom of God we will be set free from the bond of chronos, and we will live with God for eternity.

It makes me wonder; then, are there clocks in heaven? There definitely won’t be any chronometers like those in my dad’s four-door Chrysler Newport; and seems that a device measuring kairos would always have one reading: the best of times, for every moment with God is the most opportune time!

Yours in Christ,

9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684