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What time is it?

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc. 3:1-8)

What time is it? I remember when I was traveling to different countries for Amway, I always made sure that I learned this phrase in several languages. The problem is that there is more than one answer to this question. First of all there is the 12 hr clock and the 24 hour clock, so 8 o clock isn’t always 8 o clock, sometimes it is 20. Then there are the time zones because it is not the same time all around the world. If you call someone in Sydney and ask what time it is you will get a different answer from a caller in Istanbul, Turkey. Then on top of that there is or is not daylight savings time. Ho’ boy, asking what time it is can be confusing. At least I know what year it is—then again, maybe not.

For some of us this is 2010 but this month many others are going to celebrate 4704, the Chinese New Year. The Chinese calendar, like the Hebrew, is a combined solar/lunar calendar. It is not surprising that a few similarities exist between the Chinese and the Hebrew calendar. First, determine the dates for the new moons. Here, a new moon is the completely “black” moon (that is, when the moon is in conjunction with the sun), not the first visible crescent used in the Islamic and Hebrew calendars. The date of a new moon is the first day of a new month. Secondly, determine the dates when the sun’s longitude is a multiple of 30 degrees. So maybe knowing the year is not that easy. It all depends on your perspective.

As the ancient writers of Ecclesiastes remind us, there is a time or season for everything under heaven. God does not wear a watch or look at a calendar because He is timeless or as one person said God is always in the present. Time changes and the year is uncertain but we can put our trust in Him for all time and for all the seasons of our lives. Speaking of trust, according to the Chinese this is the Year of the tiger.

Pastor Herb Vanderbilt
East Nelson United Methodist
9024 18 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs

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