Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Sunday Sermonizing: The Nature of Comparative Brevity

2019 is officially halfway finished today.

While I don’t want to dwell on the cliche of passing time, there is still something astounding about the nature of brevity.

A year to a five-year-old is a fifth of life.
A year to a fifty-year-old is a fiftieth of life.
A year in eternity is a drop in the ocean. A bit of coffee table dust in the universe.

So it’s all relative, for sure.

Halfway through a year could be halfway through a lot of things. I’m reading a biography of the writer Flannery O’Connor and realizing the absolute brevity of her life (she died at 34).

But a lot of people die young.

Princess Diana (36). Martin Luther King Jr. (39). Oddly, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain all died (self-destructed is a better word) at age 27.

The people who have influenced my faith the most died young. Keith Green (29). Jim Elliot (28). Jesus (33).

But then again, in the grand scheme of things, we all die young.

I’ve told my family (with half jest and half seriousness) that I intend to go out on my eleventy-first birthday with a bang and a magic ring like Bilbo Baggins. Of course, I have no idea if I’ll make it that long (or if I’ll figure out how to get my hands on a magic ring). We don’t get to make that call. And while 111 years seems like a stretch when compared to human lifespans, it’s still not long when compared to the whole universe/eternity bit.

We all die young.

So on this day of half-way through 2019 it’s good to pause. Reflect. Number our days. Apply our hearts to wisdom.

And think well about how we spend the short bit of time we have on this planet and in this life. Not to get busier. To get better.

That’s wisdom, indeed.

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
— Psalm 90:12
‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
’So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’
— JRR Tolkien