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Calendar Confusion

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  1. Steven Wright had the following to say about time.
    • "I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time."
    • "I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast at any time, so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance."
    • "Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life."
  2. In 45 BC Julius Caesar established what is known as the Julian calendar, and it began the year on March 25.
    • This calendar was the standard until the Middle ages.
    • Astronomers and mathematicians noticed that the Julian calendar did not jive with the actual solar calendar.
    • And it also caused Roman Catholic holidays to fall outside the season traditionally set for them.
  3. So Pope Gregory XIII, along with the papal astronomer and mathematician, established a new "Gregorian calendar."
    • In order to make the adjustment to the new calendar in 1582, 10 days were eliminated from October of that year.
    • October 4 was immediately followed by October 15.
  4. Protestants did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752.
    • Which meant that the year 1751 began with March 25 and ended with December 31.
    • September 1952 lost 11 days in order to correct the calendar to its current form.

I. Chronos Time:

  1. The Greeks called chronological or sequential time Chronos.
    • Chronos is "on thing after another."
    • Chronos gives us a marker for determining where we are in history, or life, or a day.
    • Chronos is orderly, rhythmic, and predictable. It is what we think of, most often, when we think of time.
  2. In some ways, the move from Julian to Gregorian in our calendar shows how arbitrary time is.
    • In 1972 I flew to Australia and crossed the International Dateline. On the east side of the Dateline it was March 2. On the west side it was March 4. I lost my birthday that year.
    • When 2 planes flew into the Twin Towers in NY City, time really stood still in our nation. Who really thought about "time" during those awful days?

II. Keeping Time:

  1. Mankind has always been interested in keeping time.
    • First the Sun, Moon, planets and starts provided a reference for keeping time. Iceage hunters scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between the phases of the moon.
    • 5000 years ago, the Sumerians (Iraq) had a calendar that divided the year into 30 day months and divided the day into 12 periods.
    • Stonehenge was built over 4000 years ago apparently to determine celestial and seasonal events.
    • The Egyptians created a 365 day calendar that was fixed to the rising of Sirius and predicted the annual flooding of the Nile.
  2. Later there were obelisks and sun dials. Also water clocks. In 1656 Huygens, a Dutch scientist, made the first pendulum clock.
  3. But Chronos time is fraught with problems:
    • First of all it is relative, based on arbitrary, human measures.
    • Time can be interrupted. It is not dependable. Imagine what happened to time for the families affected by 9-11. Or Katrina.
    • Time can also confuse because it causes us to judge life and events by its artificial "passage."
      • With God a 1000 years is like a day.
      • With my impatient self a day is like a thousand years.
      • It's hard to keep that straight with my Seiko.

III. Passover:

  1. In our text God told Israel that the occasion of the Passover would from that moment on become their "January."
    • He said that the Passover would become a day of remembrance for them.
    • On that day there would be certain practices that they would keep year after year as a way of commemorating the event of that day.
  2. By establishing Passover God changed the way that Israel looked at time. Not a linear meaningless march of time, but rather time in which God makes appearances.
    • So God broke into time at the Exodus.
    • God broke into time at the coming of Jesus.
    • And God will break, one last time, into our time when Jesus returns.


  1. Time measured by a Blackberry or a watch can be waste, lost, and even ignored.
  2. Perhaps another way to thinking about time is to ask how another kind of "time" moves under and around, invisibly, the time we participate in here.
  3. How might that time be wasted through over attention to this time? And what would you have to do in order to give God's time it's due in your life?
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