AN INSTANT SOCIETY
By The Right Reverend Father Michael D. Jordan
We live in an instant society today. A society that has to have everything quicker and faster. If you have to wait more than 5 minutes, itís considered a shame and disgrace. Fast Food restaurants are popping up on just about every corner. We canít even take the time to walk into a restaurant and sit down and order, we have to be able to drive by a window and get our food fast. Bank lines are too hard to deal with, so we have automatic teller machines to serve the people with immediate access to their money any time of day or night.
We canít seem to wait until we can afford something today, we just whip out a charge card and there you have it, instant, plastic money, that allows you to live way beyond your means and obtain things that you would normally have to wait for. We feel that the postal service takes too long, so our letters are faxed from place to place in an instant. Information at your fingertips at the speed of light. I even saw on a news story a couple of months ago that some funeral homes are now starting to build drive-by viewing windows so you donít even have to get out of your car to pay your respects to a friend or loved one that has passed away. Imagine that for convenience and efficiency! A person need not waste time dressing up for a trip to the funeral home, in fact, they donít even need to waste time getting out of their cars and walking in to greet the family. Itís so very convenient for them to just drive by and look through a glass window at their friend or loved one on display in a "Macyís like" storefront window.
What would the cost in time be for an automated storefront funeral visitation? Well, if the person was not too popular, you could plan on there being at least two or three cars ahead of you, and depending on their particular grief level, letís say, it would take them an average of two minutes each to grieve properly and drive away, so the most time you would probably be looking at is six to ten minutes and youíre on your merry way.
You donít have to waste time sending them a sympathy card, you can always Fax or E-mail them a note from your "personal computer" when you get back home. Please donít get me wrong, Iím all in favor of automation in business settings; however, there are areas of our lives when we have to draw the line. Enough is enough. Whatís next, drive through churches, and Communion through automated teller type machines? Just drive by, pick up your Sunday Sermon on CD-ROM, drive to the next window, receive Communion, and then proceed on your way, with a total investment of time of possibly ten to fifteen minutes, tops!
Does this sound ridiculous to you? I can just about bet that someone in this strange world has thought of, or even perhaps mentioned the need for a drive through church. I know that in Las Vegas there are drive through wedding chapels, which I think are totally ridiculous. The way I look at it, if you are going to spend the rest of your lives married to a person, you can at least invest an hour or two on the ceremony to make it official! Mankind has just become obsessed with saving time almost to the abandonment of human dignity. Heart Attacks are at an all time high, Strokes, and high blood pressure, is it any wonder? I can remember a time when my grandfather passed away. For two days, nobody in the family went to work, they were at the family home, comforting my grandmother and providing comfort for each other in their time of grief. After the funeral there was additional time spent with the family to help them adjust to the loss. In the past few years, I have noticed a trend toward people setting specific hours for the family to visit with friends and relatives at the time of a death in the family. We are moving more and more toward a society that is completely controlled and bound by a clock.
How has this transformation into an "Instant Society" impacted on the Church? Well, itís very simple to see how it has affected the churches throughout the world. Attendance is dramatically down across the board in just about every denomination of faith. Why donít people want to come to church? It requires time! A service cannot hardly be over in less than an hour, therefore, you have to weigh in the time you spend driving to church, and the time you spend at church, and then the return trip home, and the way most people figure it, itís pretty much a half of a day adventure to go to church.
What do most people feel like doing on Sunday morning, well, they probably feel like sleeping because they have been frantically racing about trying to live in a world that is constantly on a stop watch! They are exhausted from the rat-race pace that they have had to maintain all week in order to remain efficient, cost-productive, and caught up with the Joneses! God is then reduced to a variable in a time-based equation, and often eliminated completely due to lack of time. Thereís always next Sunday you say to yourself, Iíll arrange the time to go and do my duty toward God next Sunday.
What if God was bound by a clock or a calendar. What if it was not efficient or cost-effective for Him to continue to bless you with food and shelter? What if your prayers were spooled into a buffer or held on an answering machine until God finally got around to listening to them? Imagine how that immediate comfort we get from prayer would be delayed, what effect would it have on you personally?
As we tend to expect things immediately, we also expect God to answer our prayers immediately too. When He donít answer them right away, we lose interest and think that God does not want to waste time with us! Have you ever thought that God might be telling us to slow down a little bit and have some patience? We have to remember, God does not use a clock or calendar in Heaven, time is not relative in Heaven. We are the ones that are totally wrapped up in time.
What I am trying to tell you is that itís perfectly fine to automate businesses, and run them as efficiently as possible; however, abandon cost-time studies, and efficiency ratings when you approach matters of faith, love and family. Take the time necessary to enjoy life by just sometimes doing nothing but reading, or just slowing down long enough to pause and be thankful to God for the many blessings He has given you.
Donít waste all of your time trying to save time! When God rested on the Sabbath Day, there was wisdom in it. Furthermore, He asked us to take one day a week to devote to rest and worship. I personally feel that God will multiply your blessings if you live by this rule. I believe that if you show Him that you will take the time to worship Him and give proper thanks to Him that your life will be a hundred times better for it!
This concept also works with family and loved ones as well. If they see you are willing to invest time in them, they will respond to your gift of attention in very positive ways. By all means, save time at work, but when youíre not at work, slow down and enjoy the beautiful God-given gift of life.
By The Right Reverend Father Michael D. Jordan
O Heavenly Father, we approach You in awe and respect. We Bless You for Your Mercy and Long suffering with us. We ask that You forgive us for the times that we are forgetful of Your bountiful blessings which you shower upon us.
We thank You for the gift of life, and ask that You would teach us how to use it wisely for the glorification of Your Heavenly Kingdom. We ask that You would bless us with tender love and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Grant us your Divine, Saving Grace that You have extended to Your people through the Precious Life-Giving Cross. Heal us of our weaknesses and Spiritual sickness that we may live our lives according to Your Holy Will.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
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