Time. It’s something we all get a fixed amount of. No, I don’t mean that each person has an allotted lifespan perfectly mapped out and decided well in advance, and for some it is a matter of seconds or minutes and for some it is more than a century. And no, not meaning that doesn’t mean I don’t think God has a plan – it’s just that God’s plans for us involve us, and involve our interaction with other people, who have an impact, intentional or otherwise, on our activities – and we all know what happens to even “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men“! All I mean is that it is, unless you are certain Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, or one of his companions, time is always a case of having 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks (and a day, or two) in a year. Basically, I’m not talking theology here, I’m talking resource. And why am I doing this?
Well, for some of today I was up in Exeter, once again meeting with fellow Members of the Iona Community (as well as the Community’s Leader), and this got me thinking about time, since this is one of the things we are committed to accounting to one another about our use of. We weren’t doing that today, but it had me thinking nonetheless. In part because on my journey back (it’s about 55 minutes there, same back, in the car – time being used up!) I was pondering what I would write in my blog post today.
As I have carried out my challenge to post every day of Easter (which I have already technically failed at, and which I haven’t caught up on yet, even though I am only one day out!) the biggest challenge has been time. I want to be involved in the online, or extended reality, world. I find it enormously encouraging and challenging and want to be a part of that experience for others and for myself. Yet whilst the virtual/extended reality/augmented reality world offers a different kind of space, it doesn’t offer any more time – time spent there is time you can’t spend elsewhere, other than when multi-tasking, which isn’t always a possibility.
This isn’t the first time I’ve considered this issue. When I was working on my final year project at Cambridge on the church and the internet, time came up then as well, both here and here. I still think that what I wrote in those Pixelated Parish posts is incredibly relevant, especially the latter one. I’m still trying to work out the balance of my life at the moment, not just between physical reality and extended reality, but between work, rest and play, between ministering to the Church and ministering to the wider community, between ministering to different chapels and communities, between planning and acting, between administrating, visiting, praying, studying, teaching and contemplating, between a whole heap of things in the mixed up life that being an ordained minister in the Church involves.
Of course, ordained ministers aren’t the only ones to face such challenges in the use of time – most Members of the Iona Community are not ordained ministers, but we all still account for our time because for each of us it is a limited resource we are called to use appropriately. I’m sure it will continue to be a struggle to complete my self-appointed challenge (ignoring the fact I’ve already failed to do it properly!) because I really do have many other things to do, and time waits for no man, or woman – unless they happen to be the Doctor!
However you divide up the time on your journey, travel well.