Have you ever thought about the phrase "in the blink of an eye"? It is a phrase that indicates a measurement of time or distance or reality. I am not certain how fast a blink of an eye is, but I do know this coming Saturday, when our son Ethan walks across the stage during graduation at West Virginia Wesleyan College, I will marvel at how fast time has passed since his birth and will probably think that he has grown up "in the blink of an eye."
I am not really sure how far a blink is but I know that it is the precise unit of measurement from the time I enter Gold Hill, N.C., until the time I leave Gold Hill, N.C.
I am really not certain how a blink of an eye measures reality, but sometimes in the blink of an eye, things in our lives change. I have thought about this quite a bit as I followed all of the remembrances of the bombing at the Boston marathon last year. The lives of so many people changed in the blink of an eye.
Whatever it is measuring, the blink of an eye, while seemingly insignificant, reveals to us amazing and challenging things if we choose to take notice. Take for instance, Gold Hill, N.C. Gold Hill looks like just another wide place in a Southern road, but in a blink, we can miss that the oldest Lutheran church is right there in the mist of this village. A beautiful stonework church, surrounded by a cemetery where stones date back to the early, early 1700s, Organ Evangelical Lutheran church is a historic site, a beautiful church and a wonderful place of worship.
This gospel lesson from this past Sunday reveals some "blink of an eye" moments. In Luke 24, beginning at verse 13 we find that in the blink of an eye the Passover had come and gone and there were two men returning home from the yearly celebration. In the blink of an eye the celebration of joy had turned to one of sadness as Jesus was crucified. The two men were talking about the events when in the blink of an eye a stranger appeared beside them.
As the two men talked, the stranger listened and then in the blink of an eye he interpreted all of the passages of scriptures that referred to the events they were discussing. In the blink of an eye, the stranger revealed the promises that the scriptures held and the two men had never really thought about. In the blink of an eye, the two felt pain and regret at not knowing, of not remembering these scriptures, but they also felt hope.
In the blink of an eye the two men were at their destination, back home, and they asked the stranger to stay with them for supper. In the blink of an eye, a simple supper becomes a holy meal, deep with meaning and recognition. In the blink of an eye they recognize the stranger as Jesus and in the blink of an eye he is gone.
In the blink of an eye the two are rejoicing, are happy, are giddy with relief and hope. In the blink of an eye they are compelled to return to Jerusalem to let the others know what they had experienced so that they can all rejoice. In the blink of an eye, in those moments, life changed for these two. In a blink, Christ became their life and all of those around them received the blessing.
What happens to us in the blink of an eye? Sometimes, in the blink of an eye we say something or do something that hurts someone else. Sometimes in our lives we harbor and nurse hurts or anger or hatred or ill will. We know that God wants us to make things right, that we are to forgive, but we don't want to, and we don't forgive, and time goes by. Then, in the blink of an eye, something happens and it is too late. Then, we are not able to make things right.
Sometimes, in the blink of an eye, we make a choice to exclude Christ from our lives, even for maybe just a brief moment.
Sometimes, in the blink of an eye, we find ourselves angry with God for something that has happened to us.
Sometimes, in the blink of an eye, we feel alone, we cannot feel the presence of the God with us.
Sometimes, in the blink of an eye, we realize that we have moved away from God.
In those moments, in those blinks, God loves us so deeply and is pouring out grace upon us, trying to get through to us, trying to get us to know and see that centering our lives on Christ and holding Christ in the depths of our hearts transforms so much of our lives. We are able to forgive. Our anger can be dissolved. We find we are not alone and that God is right with us waiting for us to come back.
No matter who we are or how much money we have or our race or age. No matter if we are patient or impatient, successful or not, loving or cranky. In the blink of an eye, we can be forgiven. In the blink of an eye, we can feel loved. In the blink of an eye, we can hold Christ in our hearts. In the blink of an eye, our lives are
Life is short here on earth, but we are created for something eternal, something bigger than just ourselves. Singer/songwriter Pete Kipley of MercyMe puts it this way:
"In the blink of an eye, that is when, I'll be closer to You than I've ever been. Time will fly, but until then I'll embrace every moment I'm given. There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye."
So what are we waiting for? In the blink of an eye we are forgiven and loved more than we can imagine. In the blink of an eye, we too can forgive and love more than we can imagine. What will we do in the blink of an eye?
To God be the glory!
On the parish calendar: Strawberry Pancakes, Friday-Saturday, May 16-17, 7 a.m.noon, First UMC, Gluten-free pancakes available.
Pentecost Picnic and Sing, Sunday, June 1, Holly River SP and Jerry Run Theater, Alexander.
Life Line Screening, Friday, June 6, Chapel Hill UMC.
Mission trip. Upshur Helping Hands Work Team will travel to McDowell County, SundaySaturday, June 1521. Ages 9th grade through adult are welcome. If you would like to join the mission, contact Cheryl Reger at firstname.lastname@example.org, Barb Loftis at email@example.com, or Mark Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop of Wonders, Vacation Bible School, SundayFriday, June 15-20, Chapel Hill UMC.
Pool Party, Sunday, June 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Chapel Hill UMC.
Church Picnic/VBS Kick-Off, Sunday, June 22, First UMC.
Wilderness Escape, Vacation Bible School, MondayThursday, June 23-27, First UMC.
Summer Youth Celebration, MondayFriday, June 2327, WVWC.
Mission U, United Methodist Women, TuesdayThursday, July 24-26, WVWC.