My five year old son is learning to tell time. We practice with both digital and conventional clocks. You find mostly digital clocks in our house, because there seems to be a clock on every electric appliance you can think of. There is the microwave clock, the oven clock, the coffee pot clock, the computer clock, the cell phone clock, the radio clock… All glowing with their displayed time. All demanding to be synchronized, and then re-synchronized after every power outage.
However, we do have a lovely conventional clock hanging in our master bath. It is hanging out of my reach, so it has not been reset for daylight savings time. When you enter my bathroom, you enter a time warp that takes you one hour into the future. Not really. But it does make you feel better every time you remember that you are in fact, NOT running an hour late after all.
The other day, I was in the bathroom straightening up. My son kept insisting he was starving. He needed a snack. It was snack time. “No,” I reminded him, “you just ate breakfast not too long ago.” Snack is usually around ten in the morning. “But,” he protested, “your clock says it’s ten o’clock!” Sure enough, my clock did say it was ten o’clock, although it was really nine. I knew the truth of the situation, but my child did not. He could only rely on the information he was getting from my inaccurate time piece. I had to explain to him that, despite what the clock said, it was still just nine o’clock. This exchange brought an interesting thought to mind.
To my child, the clock appeared reliable. It was ticking away the seconds. It was not running slow or running fast. It was hanging in a prominent place in the bathroom. Yet, it did not convey the truth. No matter what my clock said, or how accurate it appeared, the REAL time of day was determined by our relationship to the sun. Sure, we adjust our clocks for daylight savings time, but time always remains relative to how the sun shines on you compared to how it is shining on the folks around you in other time zones.
I find that this is applicable to our perception of absolute truth. I can not decide that the truth is that it is ten o’clock, when in fact it is nine. Even if something (or someone) reliable, prominent, and otherwise factually accurate, tells me that it is ten o’clock, it can not be ten o’clock if that’s not what the sunlight says. Just as the time, in truth, is determined by our relationship to the sun, The Truth is determined by our relationship to The Son. We can’t be as children, and blindly trust the truth that is presented to us by those in prominent earthly positions. We have to question whether that truth lines up with the real Truth that we know comes from looking at The Son?.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.- John 14:16-18