The picture is of Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders. Unlike St. Andrews Cathedral in Fife, it was not destroyed by a mob during the Reformation. But the Reformation did destroy it. The last monk passed in 1590. Even before he passed there had been little upkeep. Today it is a “scheduled monument” maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. My photos of St. Andrews may have been lost due to a computer crash. Wikipedia has nice articles about both churches. Here is the link to St. Andrews and this is the link to Melrose Abbey
So, as you ponder the ruins of both St. Andrews and Melrose Abbey, it might be worthwhile to meditate on the forces of nature that have been attacking the stone.
Stone, we are told by geologists, does not last forever: erosion destroys it. Yet the bits eroded, what we call sand, are still tiny rocks. These same geologists tell us that the sand, eventually, gets reformed back into stone. Erosion is slow. Incredibly slow. The Sphinx is truly ancient. It is eroding, but it is relatively recent that we notice the changes in it.
The stars move at about the same pace. When we look at Ursa Major we do not see its stars in the same places that the Ancients saw them. We wonder how they saw a bear. The stars do move, but so very slowly. Sort of an erosion process: the reforming of constellations.
Civilization seems to make time move faster. Stress and anxiety have increased since the invention of the clock. In his series of stories about the Land of Oz (Wicked & etc.), Gregory Maguire has a clock moving around the land. It seems to be an ominous device.
When they were first invented, clocks were highly desired items. They were ornate, jewel encrusted and gold plated objects. Today you can find a cheap digital watch for less than $3.00. When you think about a clock, how do you feel? Does it make you excited? Do you feel wonder at the moving hands that display the time? Or…do you feel a bit stressed? Does the clock seem to push you? Do you rush to get to your appointment?
God moves slowly. People usually say that their prayer was answered in “God’s Time”. We are the ones who are stressed, in a hurry; we want “it” now. God, however, takes his time. He moves very slowly.
And that is a good thing. He does not ‘zap’ us the first time we sin. He gives us time. We get to ‘think about it’ and we get to learn about Him.
Urban life is clock time. Agricultural life is sun time. The farmer sets his day by the sun. It’s much less demanding; much less precise; much less stressful. Sunrise, for example, strictly speaking, is about 5 minutes long. When would you say “mid-morning” might be? See, you automatically thought about the “time” as on a clock, not the position of the sun in the sky.
Time is the basis of Relativity. Motion cannot exist without time. That is merely what erosion actually is: tiny grains of sand moving through time. From our perspective it is the wearing away of a thing. But from another perspective there is no wearing away, just movement. Reforming.
That brings us back to the Reformation and the Stone Church Ruins. They are eroding—reforming—into…a new shape. Some might say that the Church lay in ruins after the Reformation, and that it is still in ruins. So many denominations. There’s this problem and that problem… Maybe the Reformation was just a reforming, an erosion. Perhaps The Holy & Universal Church of God is slowly moving into a new and different shape?