Three Score Years and Ten
It was a big birthday weekend in the family. Mum of Sanstorm turned 70!
And at the very mention of seventy I am driven to Psalm 90 with the “three score years and ten” quote. I think that officially classes seventy as a “big age”, young as my mother is. I think seventy is the new fifty 😉
Psalm 90 is great and looks at “time” – one of my favourite themes:
“Lord you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations…. from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
I like the “everlasting” thing. I like to imagine eternity shooting off in opposite directions and keeping going … and going… and going… My mind is too limited to conceive of “everlasting to everlasting” so I imagine that the everlastings meet up round the back – something like the “whaur extremes meet” of the Caledonian Antisyzygy. It makes me think that time isn’t a continuum, it’s a one sided loop. Anyway…
“For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has gone by…”
Here again there is an eternal perspective. God is outside of time, and I like to imagine that from his perspective, all of creation is instantaneous and eternal simultaneously. So, although we are going through life like some kind of time tunnel, God can see the end and the beginning – but that because we are time bound (Hadron Collider notwithstanding) we find it hard to imagine beyond time.
“The length of our days is seventy years- or eighty, if we have the strength”
This quote comes from a bleak part of the Psalm, where the Psalmist is reflecting on the troubles of life. The point I take from is it that life is finite – be it hours, days, months, years, or even a century – the days we have are the days we have. It’s not going to be two centuries… The future that seems so vast and nebulous begins to settle down to a conceivable period of time – and it is only during our life, when we can have any influence, make any change, make any choice about the world and how it goes on after us. There is so much time-wasting and so much needing done. (I need to watch less “Masterchef” while eating readymeals…)
My favourite verse from the Psalm I think is:
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”
The phrase “days are numbered” is normally pessimistic, but here it brings out wisdom. To understand our life in context, to see things from the eternal perspective must shake up our priorities and the way we see the world. I am a big fan of wisdom. Maybe I am too cautious – a bit too risk-averse, but I think that pursuing wisdom is, well… wise?
So, I should try and number my days aright then.
If only I were numerate 😉