Saturday, March 9, 2013

Daylight savings time

DTS begins at 2 a.m. Of course, it is not necessary to get up at 2 a.m. to set your clocks ahead. You set them ahead before you go to sleep and sleep on false time until 2 a.m.

Having been a priest for lo these many years (38 sometime this year) two of my favorite Sundays are the two when the time changes.

You notice they always change the time on Sunday whether it's to 'spring forward' or 'fall back'. There is a reason for that. If you changed the time on a Monday or any week day, people would be either late or early for work and businesses would be outraged (well, probably not in the fall when they got an extra hour of work out of people!) And if they did it on Saturdays the star player might miss the youth soccer game. No way time change is going to ruin the suburban obsession with children playing sports and parents yelling at officials.

So they do it on Sunday because the only people it is going to disrupt are Christians who go to church.

(I once told the person being ordained in the ordination sermon I preached for him, "Michael, in a few minutes you will be an irrelevant functionary in an irrelevant institution." I went on to talk about how relevancy is not the venue of faith, but the surprising times of life that mean not a jot or tittle to the world but are times of great pain or great joy for the individuals he will serve. I also told him the church was not called to be 'relevant' but 'dangerous'. But the bishop who was there to ordain him ripped into me in the vesting room later for calling the church 'irrelevant'.

"The church is called to be disruptive and dangerous," I said, quoting myself, "not relevant."

He disagreed that the church wasn't disruptive and dangerous. To which I replied, "if we were truly disruptive and dangerous do you think we'd have all this prime real estate in the middle of every town? We'd be hiding and worshipping in secret...."

Suffice it to say, I agreed to disagree but he didn't, not really. So I headed for the reception and several glasses of wine.)

Even though they change the time two times a year on Sundays because the church is not as relevant as industry or soccer and even though the dangerous element I'd like to see in the church doesn't exist, we do have some wonderful stained glass and pipe organs, I still love those two Sundays.

On the one coming tomorrow, I've known people to show up at 8:50 a.m.for the 8 a.m. Eucharist or at 7 a.m. in the fall. And people arriving for the 10 a.m. service during the recessional hymn is simply priceless. This spring change causes cognitive dissonance because you were coming to church, not coffee hour. In the fall, an hour early, the cognitive dissonance involves, once you realize your mistake, do you hang around for an hour you didn't know you had and still come to church.

Cognitive dissonance is always a good thing because it can tip us over from being relevant to being disruptive and dangerous....Which is the direction I want to go....

As awful as it is for a priest to get joy from someone's confusion, I really hope someone shows up 50 minutes late and I can see the look on their face....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.