The Time Famine
“When the time has fully come . . . .” – Galatians 4:4
The time famine is the pervasive feeling that we don’t have enough time. Even retired people make the lament, joining the poor in observing how much work it can take to be unemployed. Parents speed-read “The Cat in the Hat” to their children. They are stuck in fast forward, knowing that everybody wants to slow down real quickly. Carrie Fischer tells us that “even instant gratification takes too long.” We practice speed yoga in a road runner form of living. Canadian journalist Carl Honore does a whole Ted Talk, “In Praise of Slowness,” about trying to find his inner tortoise. NPR broadcasts self-help quips about how to become free of your cell phone. We know the time house is on fire and that the clocks are in charge. And yet we plug along, imagining that tomorrow will be different, while knowing that it will not be.
When God’s time fully comes, there will be a feast instead of a famine. If there is a version of the systemic oppression Jesus came to undermine today, it is in the time famine for first world people like us. It is in our use of time where we satisfy the oppressors the most. Our time is so taxed by what we have to do that we rarely get to what we want to do. We over-connect in such a way as to disconnect. We plant and plant and scatter and scatter and self-promote and self-promote and when we’re done promoting, we take selfies.
Help us understand how less is really less and more is really less, Holy Spirit, and release us for feast.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.