This Saturday, before you go to bed, be sure to set your clocks one hour ahead (as well as change the batteries in your smoke detectors). Yup, it's that time of year again: Daylight Saving Time.
Many people have never quite seen the purpose behind messing with our clocks twice a year. We don't mind the one that takes place in October so much, since going to Standard Time results in an extra hour of sleep as we "fall back." But the switch to Daylight Saving Time means one less hour of sleep as we "spring forward." Besides having to adjust our internal clocks to getting up earlier each morning, most of us will also have to get used to rising in the dark again, just when we were starting to enjoy eating breakfast with the sun shining.
Many reasons have been given over the years to justify these annual time changes. Most have to do with taking advantage of the late afternoon sun, which supposedly increases productivity and saves energy. But common sense tells us that ultimately, you really can't save daylight. The amount of time the sun shines each day is determined by the angle and rotation of the earth, not by what time our watches, alarm clocks, and cell phones say. We have x-amount of sunlight each day, and there's nothing we can do to increase or decrease it.
We can think of sin in a similar way. Every single day, every single person on planet Earth commits sins against our creator. It's a fact, whether we like it or not, and whether we admit it or not. God is holy, and he demands holiness. "Be perfect," Jesus commands us, "as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). And as the saying goes, no one is perfect. All have sinned, and all continually sin. We sin by thinking, saying and doing the bad things God forbids us. And we sin by failing to think, say and do the good things God commands us.
Many people try hard to make up for their sins. They figure doing good deeds will offset the bad things we have done. But it doesn't work that way. For one thing, the sheer number of sins we commit on a daily basis makes it impossible for us to equal that number with good deeds. But even if we could, those good deeds still wouldn't get rid of our sins. Sin, like daylight, is something we humans just don't have power over. We can't save daylight. And we can't save ourselves from our sins.
But what we can't do, God can. And God did. Jesus got rid of our sins by taking on their guilt, and going to the cross with them. When Jesus died, so did our sins. But when Jesus rose again, our sins did not. They're gone forever in God's eyes.
Go ahead and adjust your clocks this weekend. It won't save any daylight, but it will keep you from being late. But lean on your Savior for pardon, peace, and life. He really can save us from our sins.
- Brent Merten is pastor of Mountain Valley Lutheran Church, 802 Brush Creek Terrace, Eagle.