86,400 seconds every day, 168 hours a week, 365 ¼ days a year. From a modern, scientific perspective each second, hour and day is an empty container full of potential. Each moment exactly like the one before it, the one after it, and the one ten years from now. But, is this really how time feels? Don’t some hours drag on painfully slow and others move so quickly they hurt? If every minute is the same, why do most memories fade, but others last a lifetime? Are our sleeping hours really the same as when we are awake? Why is the spinning of the Earth a better way to mark time than our experience of it?
Ancient people understood this reality much better than us. Rather than setting up time in exact increments, they set it up based on their local environment, the weather and the seasons. Into feasts, festivals and Sabbath days, they further delineated their calendars. What they created was a way to describe the fact that not all moments are the same. Our days to be sure are filled mostly with ordinary time, but occasionally, something more occurs, something sacred.
Ordinary time is what we experience every day at work, in our homes, in our communities very similar to how science describes the cosmos. These times are mostly within our power to control, to shape, yet they lack significance for the same reason; we could have chosen to do something else. In contrast, if we are lucky, in the middle of our ordinary times, certain moments unexpectedly are filled with meaning; they become sacred. Quantitatively sacred moments appear as ordinary as the rest, but qualitatively, to those experiencing them, they belong to a different order. Sacred time is when two people connect at a heart level, when an epiphany inspires or most importantly when the Divine breaks into our lives creating an extraordinary moment.
Instinctively, we all know this, yet we distrust our experience. Over the next few weeks, I hope to explain the nature of sacred time and how we can be prepared to experience more of them in our lives. Please, click the follow button on the bottom right of the screen to subscribe to the blog and have an email sent to you so you know when the next post is published.