Last Sunday morning, after checking my emails, I saw the time on my computer – 9.30 am. I realised it was getting late, so I shut down while my husband headed to his den to pray. ‘It’s a quarter to ten’, I called. ‘No’, he said, ‘it’s only eight-forty-five’. He must know, I thought, and went for my shower.
We were taking our Samaritan’s Purse boxes to church that day. I had them ready on the kitchen bench; we planned to leave early. I was looking forward to seeing all the children carrying them down the aisles to the platform where they’d be built into two pyramids against the walls. It’s always a moving sight each year as the little ones, in their Sunday best, smile at their parents in the congregation. Our church was aiming for 1000 boxes this year. Operation Christmas Child is a great cause for needy children all over the world.
Anyway, once we were ready, Maurie carried our contributions out to the car. As we drove down the highway, I said, ‘It’s a warm day; the first Sunday of October’.
We turned into the church carpark and Maurie said, ‘There are a lot of cars here this morning!’ I wondered if some of the South Sudanese Church people had joined us for the service. But Maurie said, ‘I don’t think they’re using our facilities anymore’.
When we arrived at the doors, I hopped out to find someone to help us carry all the boxes in. We mustn’t be late. But there were no greeters; no-one at the information desk, and the music coming from the main auditorium sounded as if the service had already begun! I went in, and a helper offered advice on where to sit. There was a single seat, but we’d need two, and they were difficult to find. We like to sit near the front so we can feel more involved. While Maurie sorted the boxes, I eventually found a couple of seats in the second row beside one of the young mothers. I whispered to her, ‘We’re an hour late!’
‘It’s Daylight Saving’. She smiled and added, ‘We wouldn’t have known either, if our phones hadn’t told us!’
Oh dear, how embarrassing! I wondered if anyone would think we were getting old and forgetful! Well, they’d be right on both counts. But at our age, they’d surely be wondering about us now…!
Later we went back over our morning: how I’d told Maurie the correct time, and never even guessed it might be the day after we should have put our clocks forward. Neither did I connect it with what I’d said about the first Sunday of October! Or the hour late, the crowded carpark, the music, and the empty entrance! Even when we saw the pastor speaking on the screen in the foyer, we still didn’t make the connection!
And we’d missed the children! Now they were sitting with their parents and the service was continuing while we looked at our watches, only just aware that we’d forgotten something important! Well, we weren’t too late for the Offering, and we hadn’t missed the Sermon, which was brilliant. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves!
I thought about it all later and was reminded of what is going to happen one day when Jesus comes back for his own people. We know it’ll happen, but we don’t know when. We mustn’t miss Jesus’ reminders! We need to be ready, expectant, waiting for him to gather us up. There’ll be no saving of daylight then. Heaven will be shining with the light of God!