4.3.21 Countdown

Today’s date (for Brits!) 4.3.21. It reminds me of a countdown…

As a child I listened to and joined in with the countdown ‘10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0, ignition, blast off’ as American rockets were launched. We watched on television – and listened on the ‘wireless’…

In 1966 ‘5-4-3-2-1’ was the Manfred Mann song that introduced ‘Ready Steady Go’, a 60’s ‘Pop Music’ show. Then in 1986 ‘Europe’ sung ‘The Final Countdown’…

For nearly 40 years ‘Countdown’ has been a television gameshow involving words, numbers and the ‘Countdown Clock’ that counts down 30 seconds.

We have countdowns (perhaps counts-down?) to many important events… the countdown to a holiday, birthday, wedding, essay deadline, surgery, Christmas…

Some of us are on an ‘end-of-lockdown countdown’… the number of days until we can… have a family meal together, holiday in Spain, go to our favourite café, pub or restaurant, have a hair-cut, send the children to school…

For Christians Advent is the countdown to Christmas; we’re currently in Lent – the countdown to Easter. Important preparations to festivals that are central to Christian faith.

Today, 4th March, is celebrated in some Christian communities as ‘Holy Experiment’ Day:

The original ‘Holy Experiment’ was an attempt by Quakers, led by William Penn, to establish a community for themselves and other persecuted religious minorities in what’s now Pennsylvania. They hoped to show the world how well they could function without any persecution or dissension. Sadly they failed.

I like the idea of a ‘holy experiment’. Religion is generally about our spiritual habits, doing what we’ve always done. This isn’t always a bad thing….

A ‘holy experiment’ deliberately tries something different and waits to see what happens, perhaps related to prayer, studying, fasting, a random act of kindness. It’s an interesting challenge.

With a countdown there is always excitement, anticipation, the end of a period of waiting. Perhaps if we tried a ‘holy experiment’ we might experience the same.

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