Someone Else’s Time
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. – 2 Peter 3:8 (NRSV)
When the work ahead is daunting—whether it is dismantling white supremacy, reversing climate change, or ridding the world of its many phobias—it soothes us to say, “This is the work of the next generation.” We will do what we can, of course, but we don’t really expect change until someone else is in a position of power or has better ideas than we have.
We solidify this division of labor with our definition of generations, measuring only in 20- to 30-year increments, doling out responsibilities and assignments accordingly. This generation caused the financial crisis; the next is called to solve it. This generation enacted civil rights; the next moves us past tolerance. No matter the issue at hand, the underlying message is the same: it is someone else’s job to fix this mess.
But through God’s eyes, where decades pass like seconds and centuries are the same length as sitcoms, the divisions are meaningless. Pointing the finger of blame or kicking the can of justice down the road might make us feel better in the moment, but all God sees is a thousand years of people harming each other. Hasn’t God waited long enough? May we not let one more day pass before uniting in our efforts to move from hurt to healing.
Dear God, we promise to work together to clean up this mess, even if it takes a thousand years. Amen.
Liz Miller serves as the pastor of Edgewood United Church (UCC) in East Lansing, Michigan.