The Sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older…
[Pink Floyd, Time, The Dark Side of the Moon, David Gilmour and Roger Waters, recorded June, 1972 – January, 1973, released March, 1973: Harvest Records]
The predictability of the sun rising and setting, of the seasons coming and going, sometimes gives us the impression that nothing will ever change in a fundamental way. Biblically speaking, what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NRSV) This pattern gives an unchanging structure to our days, weeks, months, and years. But within that structure, we change. We are born, we grow up, we age, and we die. We are finite, and our time limited.
The lyrics of Time tell this truth; although we age every day, we are apt to spend the life we’ve been given without thought or intention as if it were an eternally renewable resource. It isn’t. This is the truth we are asked to ponder during Lent; we will return to ashes, and the world which existed long before us will continue on its way well beyond our life span. We need to remember that out days are numbered and that, with few exceptions, we will not be remembered by the generations that follow after us. Without a larger perspective on the whole thing, all would end in tears and despair.
But there is a larger perspective, a larger reality that takes up all the days we live and all the days that came before us, and all the days that will follow. We are not a cosmic accident, alone in an indifferent universe. We are beloved creatures of the One who set this cosmos in motion. If we remember this, if we trust this, contemplating our own mortality leads to a greater love for life, a greater appreciation for the here and now we inhabit, and the possibility to see within our life’s limitations the hand of God and footprints of Jesus. We may not see the end, we may not be the center of the universe, but we are universally beloved. Death doesn’t change this.
I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by. (Ecclesiastes 1:14b-15, NRSV)