As a newly minted thirty year old (as of today), I'm already making the ridiculous jokes about the end of youth and the imminence of dentures. Though, in reality, I don't mind thirty just yet, at least in part because I was reminded my brother will turn forty within ten months.
Somewhere along the line, aging became taboo in our culture. I joke with some congregants who tell me they're turning 29 again, and that's fine. Yet, I also think aging allows us to mark time, and encourages us to remember in a more robust, faithful fashion.
The movie Interstellar draws heavily upon Einstein's theory of relativity, which suggests that time passes at different speeds in different locations within the universe. The characters, when visiting different planets, had to treat time not just as a reality to face, but a resource to use. Though I'm not a theoretical physicist, this seems eminently true even in our world.
Though time passes at the same speed, most of us know the feeling that some days never seem to end, and others pass with unexpected rapidity. We know that time is a resource, one we ought to use with precious care rather than flippance. As a thirty year old, this seems even more true.
At the Last Supper, Jesus shares bread and wine with his disciples, sacramentally inviting them to continue this ritual, "in remembrance" of him. This word means much more than just simple memory recall. It means a rehearsal, or more accurately, a reenactment of that precious life that Jesus shares. We're called to re-member, to reconstitute the life of Jesus in our own lives, not just by ourselves, but with the entire church, the whole Body of Christ.
So, as I look back on thirty years, I'm taking some time to remember God's faithfulness throughout my life, as well as the time to consider how I've used this precious resource of time. For the most part, I've loved my life. Yet, at many junctures, I know I've wasted so much time, a resource that I'll never get back. As I reflect, I realize all too often I have not remembered Jesus in the most fundamental of ways: loving God and loving my neighbor in ways that make a discernable difference in the world.
I always chuckle when a friend, who has wasted time on a bad movie or a droll conversation, says, "Well there's ninety minutes of my life I'll never get back." Yet, beyond the giggle, this is also incredibly true. We've got a limited amount of time to use, and to use well. While I hope I've got at least another thirty (or forty or fifty) years left, that time will only be spent well so long as I actively remember God. Much more than a commodity, time is the best birthday gift I've received, and the most valuable one at that. Unlike most any other gift, it's literally irreplaceable.
So, today, my prayer for myself and for all people is that we might use this time in a way that is constructive. Like Jesus, who used his body and blood to heal all creation, may we use our time as a remembrance of that act. May we use our limited lives in ways that shared boundless love. May we take this process of aging as a chance to reflect on how we've shared in that remembrance of Christ, and how we might better come to love, serve, and welcome all people into the love of Jesus. While we have an eternity with Christ in the resurrection, we've got but a few precious moments in this stage of life. Let's use them well.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.