“How about love. Measure in Love.”

March 3, 2021

Jeremiah 18:1–11,18–20 | Matthew 20:17–28 | Psalm 31:9–16

“My times are in your hand”
– Psalm 31:15

390     The number of days since I have had my hair cut
357     The number of days since I have been inside St. Luke’s Church
100     The age my father would have turned this year if he were still alive
19       The number of years since my mother passed away
19       The number of years since Gary came into my life
6          The number of wedding anniversaries my Gary and I have celebrated

What are your numbers? What are the numbers that measure your time, recent and not so recent? It reminds me of the song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent, where they ask: “525,600 minutes, 525,600 moments so dear, 525,600 minutes, how do you measure? Measure a year?”

In today’s psalm we are reminded that “our times are in God’s hand.” All our times. Psalm 39 is filled with a lot of complaint and despair. It kind of brings to mind, oh I don’t know…much of this past year. It has been a bit of a blurring of uniqueness and sameness. Doing and/or not doing things like we have never done before, often focusing on what has been lost, taken away or put on hold. Feeling isolated, lonely, separated, and scared. And not a little bit frustrated and powerless. Our times are in God’s hand.

But then there have been moments of found grace. Of feeling hopeful. Of finding new and unexpected joys in the midst of all the trial. Of finding connection in ways we never tried before, and being surprised by the depth of them. And of finding a deeper compassion for others much worse off than ourselves, and a powerful gratitude for what we do have. Our times are in God’s hand.

This past year has brought into sharper focus for me the gift we are given to experience all that this life has to offer…the triumphs and the trials. Being able to feel…to feel alive! And how with God’s help (and a few nudges from the Holy Spirit if we are paying attention) we are given an opportunity to live more fully. To make a difference every day, to be mindful of all we have been given every day… in short to LIVE each and every day.

So maybe, “My times are in your hand” does not refer to how long we get to live…but rather it is an acknowledgement of the need to be mindful of how we live. Loving God and loving our brothers and sisters, following the beautiful example that Jesus gave us. How do we measure our lives? How do we measure a year?  As the song from Rent tells us: “How about love. Measure in Love.”

There is one more sobering number to observe as I write this blog this morning. 500,000. In our country, 500,000 of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and friends have had their lives cut short by COVID-19. Countless moments cut short, never to be realized. This number is staggering, it breaks my heart. Please get vaccinated as soon as you can. And please, continue to wear a mask and keep your distance. Please love your neighbor in this way. Our times are in God’s hand. As many or few as they may be, let’s make love their measure.

Joseph Gomes