Faith Comment. Kate Napier – St Peter’s Church


What time is it? Have we enough time? Can she get there in time? Can I get back in time? How many times a day do I look at my watch to answer questions like these? How many times a week does the clock in Rams Walk or on the church remind you of obligations, speed your pace, quicken your heartbeat?

We exist in time, and time can be a tyrant. Now, when time is digital and we can know to the second when we are in the day, when even the pips on the radio aren’t precise enough, it is too easy to forget that the precision is not ours. It flows from the turning of the earth and its moon, from the rising of the sun and the going down of the same.

Time was when observation of the sun fixed the time, more or less, for the ringing of the church bells for service, which told the folk when to rise, sleep, pray. The rhythms were slower, earthed. It is easy to forget that the precision is not ours, and it is easy to tell ourselves that every minute should be filled with something, by something. Being busy is a good thing. Admirable even. But all the time? Is that natural? Is that earthed?

‘There is a time for everything’, Ecclesiastes (Chapter 3) tells us, ‘and a season for every activity under heaven; God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart’. We obey time, our days are governed by time, but if we are to enjoy that beauty, sense eternity, we should surely allow ourselves to take time, take time out: make time to be still as well as time to move; time to rest as well as time to work; time to be as well as time to do. Time to lift our eyes from the screen and smell – and taste – the coffee.