Clocks don’t always work like clockwork. London’s Big Ben isn’t donging while it undergoes repairs. A neighbour’s grandfather clock has been removed from its case – in need of complete overhaul by an expert repairer. The clock’s owner says the grandfather is an old friend – and she misses it. A friend’s chiming clock has stopped its chimes and is also away for repair.
Do you like a ticking clock? Someone told me that hearing his clock ticking during sleepless nights is a comfort, a reminder of the steady, rhythmic passage of time.
We anthropomorphise time pieces by talking of a clock’s face and hands. The familiarity of a clock on the wall provides security. When it fails to work, it’s unsettling – as when a family member or friend leaves your house after a happy visit.
Some years ago, when my last watch stopped, never to go again, I gave up wearing a watch altogether. It was liberating! Admittedly my laptop tells me what the time is (3.12.34 pm at this precise moment.) As does my mobile phone. And if I wake in the night I’m chuffed if I can guess the correct time before checking the digital clock by my bed.
We’re more tied to time and timetables than God is. For him a day is as a thousand years; a thousand years as a day. Our lives, like our clocks, won’t always go like clockwork. God’s promise is that he is with us at all times.