A reflection on 2 Peter 3:8-10
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
It seems to me that this passage reminds us that God’s understanding of time is so very different for ours and if we could only see things from God’s time perspective everything would be disclosed….this suggests a more whole, a much more united vision of what heaven and earth and life is really all about.
Our day to day lives run in linear time, from past through present and into the future day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It’s not easy to step out of that linear perspective and so we often find ourselves either looking to the future and thinking about where we’re heading, what we should be doing, how we ought to be and what expectations others might be. Or else we might be looking to the past thinking about how things used to be and what we’ve left behind, how the past has shaped us and how we might draw on the past going forward.
But what we mostly have difficulty with is simply stepping out of that linear perspective to remain in the absolute present moment. Now of course our linear thinking is important but so is developing the faculties that enable us to dwell in the present, because it’s in the present moment that our sense of separation from God dissolves, it is in the present moment when we catch those glimpses of absolute oneness, the great mystery of union with God.
The contemplative impulse calls us to intentionally develop our sense of presence so that it becomes as natural a dwelling place as our linear one is.
It’s not that we constantly seek to live in the moment, no one could, we still have to navigate the temporal world but certainly we can develop the faculties of presence so that linear time does not have quite the hold over us is often the case. And then we come to see that these ‘end of time passages’’ are not so much about the cataclysmic ending of all things but rather an awakening into a unitive state of oneness with God where it seems our sight and even our very sanity are restored.