Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, January 9, 2015

Redeeming the Time

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

It’s five degrees below zero here this morning. I don’t even want to guess at the wind-chill. It’s the kind of morning that makes me long for spring training, and Sarasota.

That’s where Helen and I went to see the Cincinnati Reds in spring training. Florida is where all the teams used to train in the spring, the way God intended.

We were part of what was then called an Elderhostel. It was fun to sit in the sun in the delightful little Jack Smith Stadium and watch the parrots fly over and hear the crack of the bat and sing along with the grounds crew whenever “YMCA” came over the loud speaker and they dropped whatever they were doing and acted out the song.

Oh, I would love to be there this morning… except for the guy without a watch.

Young people will not understand this, but people used to wear clocks on their wrists. It was simple to find out what time it was, not like now when you have to fish your cell phone out of the toilet before you can learn the time. You just had to glance at your wrist.

Unless you were proud that you were retired and didn’t have to keep a schedule anymore and so did not have to know what time it was. So on one of our bus trips, after a day that had been long and tiring, all the rest of us in the group sat in an uncomfortable bus, without a toilet since it was just a short trip, sat there for an hour, until the man without a watch came sauntering up.

No, of course he didn’t get to the bus at the appointed time to return home because he had no watch, duh! Because he didn’t need one anymore, duh! Because he was retired, duh! Because it didn’t matter anymore if he were on time, duh!

Except it mattered to the rest of us. We were the ones who paid the price for his freedom.

There is a great difference between freedom and irresponsibility. Much of our current individualism is not really about freedom. It’s just a mask for selfishness and meanness, the desire to be a bad neighbor. Old people earn the right to the freedom of retirement, but no one ever has the right to be a selfish jerk. It may be a political right, but it’s not a human right, and certainly not a Christian right.

I like the KJV translation of Ephesians 5:16, because it reminds us to “redeem the time.”

Get there on time, and redeem it, or you’ll suffer the same fate as the man without a watch in Sarasota. No, we didn’t ban him from Reds games or put laxatives in his oatmeal. His fate was that he had to live with his own selfish self.

John Robert McFarland

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I have also started an author blog, about writing, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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