The state of Indiana is once again in the midst of a debate about time zones, daylight savings time, and time itself. Right now our state is divided into several different segments, some of which move onto "daylight savings time" and some of which do not. This difference of time certainly makes my life more complicated, as I drive to various meetings and preaching engagements in local churches and try to remember "What time is it there?" So now our state legislature is once again considering changing our time zones to make everyone in Indiana (even if we are not in the same zone) move back and forth in unison. Undoubtedly there will still be debates about which parts of Indiana should be in the Eastern time zone or the Central time zone, but it would make sense for everyone to move back and forth in some unified style. Then we could at least know that "that county is always one hour behind us" or "that area is always one hour ahead of us."
All of this confusion about changing time zones makes me realize that the real issue is TIME itself. No matter what we do, no matter how we set our clocks forward and back, no matter how fast or slow we live our lives, we all have the same amount of time each day. 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds -- no matter how we measure it, try to stretch it, or choose to speed through it, we all have the same time. We really cannot "save daylight" by changing our clocks -- we merely move forward or backward our experience of that daylight. We can only learn to live with it, to adjust ourselves, and "to make the best of it" (a good phrase I learned in the Dakotas).
Time does bring changes to us, even if we cannot change time. Time brings aging, moves us closer to the end of our lifetime, and forces us to deal with the reality of our mortality. The news this week of the death of Pope John Paul II is a solemn reminder that none of us can change time, we only deal with the time changes which come to us.
Likewise, time brings changes in our world, our society, and our churches. We are glad to gather for worship and to sing about the faithfulness of God in the midst of these changes, but even in church we have to face the reality that time changes things. Too many church folks in every denomination are still hoping to return to 1950 or 1960 or whatever time was the "best time" in the life of their church. But it is 2005, and the changes which have come with the passing of time are real. Time changes us; we don't change time.
And so I pray a prayer of gratitude to the God who is faithful to us, even in the midst of changing times.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner