At the very end of 2019, during our annual family reunion in the Midlands of England, our young great-grandson Toby took us all on several imaginary journeys into space. He compensated for any lack of technical training by his bursts of enthusiasm.
When summer was over did he suppose that his daily trips to infants’ school would equip him more thoroughly to be an astronaut? His eager attendance certainly indicated his hunger to learn whatever was on offer.
Then, after two months, confusion struck with triple inconvenience – the weekend, a half-term break from school for a whole week, and the end of British Summer Time. As he retired to rest on Saturday evening he knew that it would be Daddy’s birthday next day. No doubt he had a card and a present prepared for his father’s arrival at his half-way point in the biblical schedule of ‘three-score years and ten’ (Psalm 90:10, King James Version).
However, Toby awoke with an adrenalin rush at 2.15 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (which, of course, was his body-clock measure of 0315 hours B.S T. Arriving at his parents’ bedside he asked hopefully: ‘Have we had the extra hour yet?’ (Would Roald Dahl ever have thought to put that question on the lips of one of his child characters?) So, Daddy had a substantial extension to his day of celebration.
Now here is an arresting thought! When our Lord placed a child within the group of his disciples and warned them to ‘Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones’ because ‘… in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father’ (Matthew 18:10 New Living Translation throughout) they might well have recalled that Jacob, one of their nation’s founding fathers, was in his seventies before he witnessed while asleep his guardian angels changing shifts during that historic first night that this ‘mummy’s boy’ had ever left his home comforts! (Genesis 28:12).
Toby didn’t need a science degree in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to visit eternity during his ‘time warp’ experience! As Moses expressed it when he had reached the ripe old age of 120 years (Deuteronomy 34:7):
‘… God … rides across the heavens to help you. …
The eternal God is your refuge,
and his everlasting arms are under you’ (Deuteronomy 33:26-27).
Well now … !
How re-assuring all of this feels to those of us who are closer to Moses’ ultimate total of years than those current few of Toby’s. Thanks to the National Health Service we have survived our allotted seven decades (and counting) as we shuffle and splutter our way to our dual termini – the bodily Rest-In-Peace of the cemetery while in spirit we’re ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus … [where] our souls can rest’ (as we sang in Sunday School assembly). Meanwhile we await our resurrection bodies capable of the speed-of-thought travel in a space-time eternal reality, after ‘the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more’ – which we also gave voice to in song back then!
Why get excited about an extra hour once a year – that we’ll lose in the spring if we’re spared till then.