Analog timepiece on a chain. 

Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash

A Psalm for Daylight Saving Time 

March 8, 2023

It is soon to be Daylight Saving Time, and as the faithful churchgoer well knows, the loss of an hour makes Sunday praise that much more challenging. It is also the most likely Sunday we will feel it is Lent: we gave up an hour….

Springing forward an hour is a great boon to the coffee hour at church as well. Though I would kindly suggest it would be better scheduled for this Sunday before church. Such foresight is merciful and an act of pastoral care, especially for the pastor. In fact: instead of the water glass on the pulpit, kindly, place a coffee cup and a generous thermos of dark roast for the clergy.

The poitical commentator and podcaster Jon Lovett regularly interviews politicians and aspiring candidates. He always includes the pressing question of what position the guest might take in banning the time change. On this Sunday especially, I appreciate his efforts to gain bipartisan support.

So we grumble as we gather, but we gather because we also have this need in the midst of our busy week to take time to become the gathered people in worship. The hour time difference is likely the least of our problems. We come with the burdens of the week just past. We ask one another to join in praying for those we love, the needs of our hearts and minds, and for the community and the world.

I am reminded of the world-weary Psalmist as they summon the people of Israel to sing:

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brough forth or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

“You turn us back to dust and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’ For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past or like a watch in the might.” (Psalm 90:1-4, NRSVue)

Observing Lent and Daylight Saving Time is appropriate. We have lost an hour and yet spend and hour (or more) in the regular Sunday service, balancing our weary selves with the higher purposes of Divine Worship.

On Spring Time Change Sunday, many feel tired due to being up earlier, and spend the next few days adjusting to the new schedule. Our worship this day is a witness to the wisdom from the Psalms that we are frail, yet our belief in God gives us an answer that we hold dear, just as much as that coffee cup first thing that morning—and many, many other mornings when our souls are weary and the day to day burdens make it an act of faith and perhaps even defiance to rise from our beds to face the world.

Lent reminds us that we should be mindful of our lives. We sing in the hymn “O Worship the King, All Glorious Above”:

Frail children of dust, And feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust, Nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, How firm to the end,
Our Maker, defender, Redeemer, and friend!

As the hymn says, we are “frail children of dust” more than any other metric that we hold for ourselves or that we impose on others. The 90th Psalm reminds us that our temporality is inescapable, yet we may turn with confidence and trust that God is eternal. This world and its iniquity as well as our own personal iniquity do not have the last word. God surpasses all things, including us.

Observing Lent and Daylight Saving Time is appropriate. We have lost an hour yet spend an hour (or more) in the regular Sunday service, balancing our weary selves with the higher purposes of Divine Worship.

With our faith (and a slight boost from our favored source of caffeine), we join with generations before, singing the faith:

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and prosper for us the work of our hands— O prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17).

The Rev. Jerrod H. Hugenot is associate executive minister, American Baptist Churches of New York State.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.

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