Time is a Gift from God

By Fr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou, Ph.D. 

There are people, who look at the passage of time as sad; they see it as time gone that will never return, leading all things to aging and corruption, to death and the end of life.

But, from the Christian perspective, time is a gift from God that never ends. We have received this gift of time so that we may make the best use of it with the ultimate goal to win “Eternal Time”, the Kingdom of God.

Time has been blessed by God by His entrance into our time through His birth as a human being and His life on earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Since then we have been considering time as sacred. Every year is a year of salvation and holiness. We have even begun to count time from Jesus’ birth. All time belongs to Him. We are now entering the year 2023 A.D. (Anno Domini) – the 2023rd Year of the Lord.

We celebrate this gift of time in our worship services and especially the Divine Liturgy. Through prayer, we sanctify time as we enter from ordinary time (??????) into sacred time (??????) and experience in the here and now the “Eternal Time”, the Kingdom of God. Through sacred time we transcend ordinary time; we are able to go back in time and experience the biblical events, and we are also able to move forward into future time and experience “Eternal Time”, the Kingdom of God. 

While we sanctify time through our prayer, we also sanctify the space in which we exist. As we worship in a given space invoking the Holy Spirit to come and bless us, that space is also blessed; it becomes sacred, dedicated to holy things; it becomes a Holy Sanctuary.

The sacred symbols and signs, the holy icons and other liturgical items, dedicated exclusively for use in our worship, mark this space. As we enter an Orthodox church we immediately know that this space is sacred. It is set apart for a holy purpose; the sanctification of our time and our life; the sanctification of our souls and our bodies.

Hence time is of the essence, and we need to make it holy. Our space is also of the essence, as it helps us sanctify our time. This is why our sanctuaries (our places of worship) and the time we spend in them have to become central to our lives. The experience we bring away every time we enter our worship space is of the utmost importance, most especially for the children; their church experience becomes a powerful force that shapes their souls and defines the course of their lives. We need to make sure that no time is lost, that the souls of the young ones are being sanctified. We need to make sure through teaching and prayer that every minute spent in church is truly sanctifying time.

As for those of us who are older, we already know that we are running out of time on this earth, so we must make good use of our remaining time. As the new Ecclesiastical year shines upon us, offering us again the gift of time, let us make the right choices which will ensure the sanctification of our time on earth and open the doors into “Eternal Time” in the Kingdom of God. Time is of the Essence! Let’s not waste any time!

In Christ’s Love,

Fr. Panayiotis