Prior to the development of this quartz technology, the leading companies in the watch making industry were in Switzerland. The Swiss companies knew about the new technology. Yet they chose not to adopt it. Others companies in Japan and the United States filled the void. Many of the Swiss companies that had been leaders in the watch industry went bankrupt or were closed. New names emerged. There has been a renaissance in mechanical watches in recent years, but this return has been only for a segment of the watch wearing world as the products are expensive.
Today we don''t think a lot about what makes a watch work. We just look at it to tell time. Often there are not hands, only numbers. The way we tell time has changed.
Historian Daniel Boorstin described the comprehension of time as the first major human discovery. Humanity first marked time by planetary movement. Then the clock was invented which permitted greater precision in "telling time." Today we not only can see seasons and moon phases, but we can measure the amount of space in between seconds.
I woke up the other night and could not go back to sleep as I thought about our own time. What are we doing in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Are we marking time just waiting to get back to "normal?"
There is no doubt that life is going on. The pandemic has created unimaginable disruption, even chaos. What we though of as "normal" has been shattered. Are we waiting, thinking that there will be an "all clear" like after a bad storm and people will begin moving about rebuilding their lives?
People have begun moving about. But there has been no "all clear." Uncertainty and anxiety are still so present. Each of us has experienced this in our own way. This week I have been with my mother who was in the hospital. Only one visitor was permitted at a time. Temperature checks were required upon entering the building. Masks were required. Whatever is next, it will not be "normal."
Are we finding the time to do what is needed?
In the midst of this time, some things have to be done. Trips to the grocery store are often required. Students have had to work with parents and teachers for on-line or at home schooling. People have found creative ways to work from home. Our appreciation for "essential" work has deepened.
You also know how church life has shifted. It is not just online worship. It is also the whole range of things involved - education, meetings, mission. All of this has been altered.
Are we making time for whatever comes next?
Whatever happens next will not just emerge one day as if the COVID-19 pandemic was a bad dream. Whatever happens next will depend on how we have marked our time and on what we have found during this time. We are all in a new phase of discovery for what the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ looks like in our time.
Below are three columns. The first two provide links for information from government and church groups about making our way forward. The third column represents your church. Using the information from the first two columns, consider what you need to do in your congregation, ministry and context for what is next. We all need to make time to create plans for the future.