“As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For, he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
A few years ago, I moved to an old redbrick farmhouse in the country. The deadlines and demands of my professional life have continued on a seemingly timeless plane, but the work of gardening, preserving, and chicken-keeping has infused my life with a seasonal rhythm.
In the late 1930s, the writer and naturalist Henry Beston described the different ways time flows in city and country. Having just returned to his northern Maine farmhouse after a month away, Beston observed, "I find I am shaking off the strange oppression which came over me when I lived by an urban sense and understanding of time. In a world so convenient and artificial that there is scarcely day or night ... time, so to speak, having no natural landmarks, tends to stand still."
The scribbled notes on my calendar have their own kind of urgency, but few moments feel as swollen with vital significance as the afternoon in late October when I remember that our first hard freeze is coming, and the pumpkins have not been brought in from the vegetable garden. Now is the time, or else months of work and watchful waiting will have been in vain. In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul delivers good news: God has heard our cry for help and has saved us. Yet we are in danger of squandering this gift. Forgetting that the day of salvation is today, we live narrow, fearful lives. We close off our hearts, wanting only to protect ourselves from pain and loss.
Paul's litany of hardships precedes his cry for us to open wide our fearful, doubting hearts. For now is the time of God's favor! When our hearts embrace this astonishing new reality, no sorrow can fully erase our deep and abiding joy.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
What evidence do you see that now is the time of God's favor? In your family, your workplace, your community, or your church?
Dear God, thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you that I have nothing left to fear. Help me, like Paul, to live a life that reflects your grace no matter what the troubles of the moment may be. Amen.