Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What time do you have?

In South Africa, we have the oldest regularly-used large-gun in the world.  What that means is that we have a big cannon that has been fired every day since 1806.


320px-Noon_Gun_Firing_Signal_Hill_Cape_Town_4_September_2008It is called the Noon Gun, and it is fired from Signal Hill in Cape Town every day at precisely noon.  It has only failed to fire once in the last 200 years due to a technical hitch.

Timing guns were very important years ago to let the sailors calibrate their Maritime Chronometers.  It was important that the Chronometer be re-set and checked regularly as a delay of even half a second could mean that you were not able to navigate accurately and you would be lost at sea.  So every ship would make sure they were up to the second when they were in port.

For two centuries, the sound of an explosion echoing across the city has been a reminder to all as to what time it was, and for years you could see residents check their own watch at 12h00, and smile to see that they were only off by a few seconds.  If it was more than a few seconds, they would frown slightly and adjust their own watch.

Of course the Noon Gun is more accurate than ever these days.  The gun is fired electronically by a signal from the Southern African Astronomical Observatory, which is timed to even take into account the millisecond delay as the signal is relayed by telephone lines.  The SAAO is synchronised to the Atomic Clock, making the Noon Gun one of the most accurate time announcement devices in the world.


When the gun goes off these days, people reach for their ‘phones or look at their watches, not to check their own watches, but to check the gun!  If their watch doesn’t agree, they shake their head sadly…. and leave their watch, assuming that the gun is late today.

After all, their watch/phone/p.d.a .can’t be wrong.  If it disagrees with the gun, then the gun must be at fault.  Their world is never wrong.

Unfortunately I think that is how a lot of people treat the Gospel these days.  In the past, we would allow the Gospel to shape our understanding of the world.  Now we try to shape the Gospel to our understanding of the world.  Once upon a time if we heard God speaking to us, we would listen and obey, even if it made no sense.

Now we say to ourselves, “That doesn’t make any sense, I must be wrong.”

We try to change the Gospel by saying “It obviously doesn’t mean that, because that is illogical.” or “It can’t mean that, because that wouldn’t be fair.” or “God can’t mean us to do that, because it violates somebody’s freedom of choice.”

We think that God, and the Gospel, need to change to suit the modern world, instead of trying to make the modern world change to suit God.

We ignore the never changing, always correct sound of the Noon Gun, and try to follow our own devices.  We just assume that if there is a problem, it is with God and the Bible, and so we change the message.  We soften the blow.  We try to make it “fit”.

But God didn’t call us to make His Word fit.  He called us to make his word known.  He called us to speak the truth.  He called us to live lives that don’t always make sense to us, or those around us; and often fly in the face of what the world preaches.

HE called us to never stop listening for his voice, daily, and adjusting our own lives to match.

Are we doing that?

Are we being Faithful, and True?

Are we Faithful In Serving Him?

I am trying to be.  How about you?

1 comment:

  1. Great post!

    I did not know about the Noon Gun. Great piece of living history!

    As far as being faithful in serving Him…well…not so much. Not like I ought, anyway.

    But the great thing…the most important thing…is His faithfulness to us. Even when we just aren't up to it.

    Thanks, SB !


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