Monday, May 17, 2010

Island Time, Modern Time, & Kingdom Time - Black

"You mainlanders are aye [always] in sic’ [such] a hurry," he said in his soft Scottish highland accent. Wullie McNeil, stocky, and with a ruddy, weather-tanned complexion, smiled, shaking his head as though he just couldn’t understand what all the hurry was about in the big cities.

The year was 1965. My father and I were on a short holiday at Wullie’s place on the island of Islay, in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. My Gaelic-speaking grandmother was born on Islay, and Dad spent some boyhood summers there. Wullie, his cousin, had visited Scotland’s mainland many years before, but was in no hurry back.

Island time was different to mainland time. Sixty minutes to the hour, twenty-four hours to the day, and seven days to the week; these were the same, but the mental and emotional approach to living life within those boundaries was different.

Speaking of the changeableness of the weather and its effect on shipping, Cousin Wullie said, "If the boht [boat/ferry] disna’ [doesn’t] come in today, then perhaps it’ll come in tomorrow, and if it disna’ come in tomorrow, then maybe it’ll come in the following day. But if it doesn’t, then there’s no point in fretting about it; the boht will get here when it gets here." Then, with the sagacity of a learned and true islander, he added, "Ach, life is far too short as it is, without rushing out of it!"
Imagine how frustrating that approach could be for fast-paced, mainland business people trying to sell, clinch deals, and organize the movement of goods, or for government officials trying to get information flowing, when dealing with ‘island mentality’.

Ah, who knows? Perhaps there was a consistently high level of efficiency, compensating for lack of speed by the making of fewer mistakes; and maybe islanders like Wullie McNeil lived at a pace that could really be called ‘living’. They ordered their lives in such a manner that their inner voice was less crowded, their vision less clouded, and their enjoyment of the goodness of the Creator unbounded.

Punctual people loathe being kept waiting, and the instant ‘me’ and ‘now’ generation wants what it wants, when it wants – like now, or yesterday! Business people want clear, achievable, if not challenging, time-lines. Yes, the world has it’s own pace – a dizzy one, nowadays. In contrast, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs outside of time, yet comes into lives lived in time and bounded by it.
The Lord Jesus lived and walked on earth, unrecognized by most everyone that He was King of Israel and the Son of God Incarnate (although some acknowledged He was a descendant of King David). He didn’t always act when people expected or wanted Him to, and wasn’t always where they expected Him to be. He marched to 'the beat of a different drum' in response to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

From the time of Jesus’ conception in the Virgin’s womb, God was in process of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven – an eternal kingdom – into time. In Him, the King was here, and so the Kingdom of Heaven was near.

Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world ..." (Luke 17:21 NIV). Although voluntarily bounded by earth time, He lived according to ‘Kingdom time’, journeying through life to die for our sins on the Cross. He wouldn’t be rushed – nor deterred. I’m glad!
An earlier edition of this article was published in The Watford Guide-Advocate, March 19, 2009.
Peter A. Black is a soon-to-be-retired pastor living in Southwestern Ontario, and a freelance writer.
He is the author of "Parables from the Pond" (Word Alive Press).
His current project is ghost writing an historical biography, and he continues writing weekly in The Watford-Guide Advocate.


Dolores Ayotte said...

Great article as usual. be an Islander and enjoy time at a slower pace.

Upon your soon-to-be "retirement", I'm sure you will discover that no such word exists as you busy yourself in many other ways and adjust to your new life.

On my blog "A Woman's Voice", for the month of June, in honour of Father's Day, I am featuring a few men who have touched my life starting with my husband. Would you do me the honour of writing a short post? (300 words or so)
Please e-mail me to let me know. Thanks! :)

Peter Black said...

Thank you for your very kind comment.
I'm honoured to be asked to contribute to "A Woman's Voice." How often does a man get to do that, eh! ;)
There are several hoops looming, through which I'll have to jump, however.
Yep, I'll email you.

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