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An edited Snapshot of Michelangelo’s famous “The Creation of Adam” fresco circa. 1511-1512…original lacks Ben Franklin! 🙂

Most dictionaries will define prosperity as the condition of being prosperous, a most unhelpful definition until you read a little deeper, as it’s used exclusively to refer to the accumulation of success or wealth.

Now that’s something most of us understand, whether we consider ourselves prosperous or not.

What caught my attention this week is the psalmist’s plea in psalm 30, “O God, in my prosperity, nothing was going to shake me…I was serious as a mountain”…until death came calling at his door.

Suddenly, when the two absolutes of our universe are invoked, death and life, the categories of how valuable we, and the world around us are, suddenly shift.  No longer are they measured exclusively in “success” or “wealth”, but in the accumulation of the moments we have.

In other words, time is of the greatest essence, and we all know it.

Have you ever noticed that for most of us, time is always running out?  It’s our most valuable asset, the most sought after commodity – and we never seem to have enough of it or the time we have isn’t of sterling quality.  Those who wrestle with chronic pain and terminal conditions know of which I speak.

Never before have people worked for so much of their time on this earth in the materials economy – forget freedom 55, freedom 85 is where my dreams for retirement are headed!  People are working longer, for arguably less income to pay for increasing expenses.  It’s not a good formula.  But it adds up this way:  our prosperity, the prime measurement of our worth in society, dictates how we will divest ourselves, our families and communities, of our most valuable investment…time.

To help pay for tuition at the Atlantic School of Theology during the summer, I worked at the Superstore, and I was struck by my co-workers thoughts on Sunday shopping.  I was the odd ball in my small department – not only did I go to church on Sundays, but I was studying to be a minister.  Most of my colleagues didn’t know what to make of it, but were amazing in simply accepting me for who I am.

Their resistance to whether thou shalt shop on Sunday wasn’t about going to church.  In fact, I find how we say “going to church” to be uncomfortably close to how we say “I’m going to the dentist, the grocery store, the vet…” I don’t go to church, I hope that together, we are the church.  Wherever and whenever we happen to be.  But I digress…

Their resistance wasn’t about religious grounds and whether people should go to church, not to the grocery store, or hockey practice, or…(name your churchy gripe in our current age here).  It was all about prosperity…at least when it came to their time.<