We used to measure time by the rising and setting of the sun and by the cycle of
the moon. All this was apparent to the naked eye and needed little additional
calculation. We called these days and months.
Then we observed the movement of the sun, and added years: and then, at some
point, hours and minutes; and then named the days and months and numbered the
years; and then clocks and calendars and, eventually, the pulsating throb of the
mobile phone in your pocket telling you your next appointment is due and mapping
all that you will do today, tomorrow and until you are no more.
No wonder a wise African bishop asked why it is that we in the west have all the
clocks, but they in Africa have all the time. We have become imprisoned by
precision. Every moment is accounted for.
So Happy New Year! Happy new turning of the chapter from last year to this
year. In one sense it is just another rising of the sun; but it is also an invitation
How will I measure this New Year?
How will I measure my life?
Will it be by days and months? Or will it be by what I do in them and what I
Or will it be by the love and generosity with which I do these things and inhabit
So this is my prayer for the New Year: O Lord, teach me to measure my life in
something other than years. Amen.