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Sarah Richardson’s article in the October Diary September 24, 2021

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.

A surprisingly warm September has led us into October, the month when our clocks go back (I think it’s on the 31st this year). For some, it’s a delight, an ‘extra’ hour for a lie-in on a Sunday morning. For others, particularly parents of young children, the early morning wake-up call feels that little bit harder, and those first few days after the time change seem so very long.

The nature of time is a strange thing, and our clocks sometimes appear to be part of our small efforts to exert some control over the natural world. Humans have used sun dials, water clocks and sand timers for thousands of years. It is believed that the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato had one of the first alarm clocks, created so that it would wake his students in the morning. Our desire for timekeeping has developed along with our technology, giving us the electronic chronometers and atomic clocks used in the world today. And time is important to us. When we are waiting for something, every minute seems like an hour, and yet for this year’s Olympians, the tiniest fraction of a second was all it took to deny them of victory, or give them the highlight of their career.

Our efforts to be ‘in control’, to define our lives by clocks and timepieces will, in the end, prove fruitless for us. We have no sway over the passing of the hours. But even if all the clocks were to disappear, there is still an underlying rhythm to our world and our lives that is beyond time, that doesn’t seek so much as to control time, but to dwell in it in confidence. The flora and fauna that surround us in our beautiful villages, and beyond, are rooted in this pattern of seasons, the ebb and flow and warmth and winter. And there is real peace to this, from which we can all benefit. Most people find that time spent outdoors makes them feel better, helps to put things in perspective, helps to reconnect us with others in our world. For Christians, God is eternal, outside of time, and this beautiful pattern of the seasons can reassure us of the stability of creation, of its dependability, and of the reassuring and steadfastness of God’s love for us.

I hope that this Autumn you can enjoy some of the beauty and rhythm of the outside world, whether walking on hillsides, pottering along pathways, or simply sitting in a garden with the glimpses of sun that remain.

With best wishes,

Rev Sarah Richardson


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