Postponing: It's just a matter of time

By Darlene Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--Life getting you down? Too much to do and not enough time to do it in? Is the time you call your own steadily eroding away? Too much time between paychecks? I may have a solution for you.

I'd like to insert a disclaimer right here. This solution may not work for everyone. Let me explain something first: Deadlines, just by their nature, can be and usually are associated with a high level of stress. You must accomplish a particular task within a certain time limit, which quite frequently is nearly impossible without a gargantuan effort expended on your part.

Since few people actually enjoy pushing themselves in such a manner, the task is put off until the last minute, thus the need for a deadline. Hence the stress, stroke, nervous breakdown, etc., that may follow.

Keeping track of time seems to be of extreme importance to our generation. We work by the clock; we sleep by the clock; we even worship by the clock.

We in the Churches of God are by now all familiar with the debate that continues to heat up and boil over into our church-related forums and personal conversations with our brothers. You know the one I'm talking about. I'm referring to the subject of "calendar issues."

Jewish escape clause

In particular I'm referring to the postponements, where somehow, way back a long time ago, the Jewish people got behind in their schedules and decided there was no way they were going to make their deadline. So, rather than getting bent out of shape about it, they decided to add a couple of more days to their calendar.

From that time to this, whenever they got in a bind they've always been able to invoke this escape clause. (You'll note there are many cases of blindness, paralysis and leprosy mentioned in the New Testament but few instances of stroke or hypertension.)

But problems persist for Church of God congregations. What if you attend a congregation where no one can come to a consensus on how to set a calendar? Murmurers and bickerers begin to take center stage. Some say the month begins with the first observable crescent moon; others say the new moon is the full moon. Still others contend the most accurate way to determine when the month begins is to use computer programs to predict when the first crescent can be seen from Jerusalem. Huh?

Let me share with you what we've done here in the Big Sandy congregation. It might just work for your area.

It used to be quite complicated and time consuming to determine what day of the month it was (what with all the moon watching and barley growing), but now that we've worked out all the kinks things are running a lot smoother.

First of all, we no longer have to wait for the first sighting of the crescent moon to determine how to set our calendar. As luck would have it, this isn't a great barley-growing state either.

Big Sandy's postponements

Famous for our interdependence, we persevered until we finally came up with a solution we can live with. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt when the first Sabbath of the month is because that's when we have our potlucks. You can count on that. That is, most of the time.

We also practice postponements. Occasionally, because of weddings, guest speakers or holy days, it becomes necessary to postpone the potluck till the second Sabbath of the month, in which case the next month's potluck reverts to the originally scheduled first Sabbath of the month.

When you pass 10 potlucks (subtract two because of their falling during the spring and fall holy days), you know a full year has been completed.

On the same wave sheaf

As I stated before, I'm sure you can see the importance of everyone being on the same wavelength (or wave sheaf, if that is your counting method of choice).

I still say your best bet is the potluck method. The first step a congregation should take is to form a committee, preferably headed up by a woman. (They've gained extensive experience over the years determining what time of the month it is.)

In conjunction with that, take a poll of the congregation. Determine what the members wish to use as a means of keeping track of the first Sabbath of the month. You don't have to use potlucks. You could use skating parties, Bible studies or any other well-established monthly tradition.

Personally, I like to stick with potlucks for the simple reason potlucks are like the poor whom Jesus referred to in the Bible: You will always have them with you.

After that you're all set. Just remember when you find yourself in a bind to throw in a couple of more weeks to give yourself plenty of leeway.

Like the Jewish people thousands of years ago, you have successfully set up a calendar to suit your individual needs.

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