March 11 – Tampering with Time


Our daughter in Michigan does not like Daylight Saving Time. No wonder. Sturgis, Michigan, is about as far west as you can go and still be in the Eastern Time Zone. This coming Sunday when we spring ahead (even though it is not yet spring – sort of like March Madness spilling in to April), the sun will rise in Sturgis at 7:56 a.m., 43 minutes after we’ve seen the sun in Langhorne. It makes for some very dark March mornings. By mid-June, Sturgis sunset will be around 9:30 p.m. Try putting your two-year old and four-year old to bed at a decent hour when dusky light lasts until 10:00.

When you live in Sturgis, Michigan, you wish they’d just leave well enough alone.

Nine years ago when Daylight Saving Time was extended to nearly eight months, the golf and barbecue industries were the big spenders in lobbying for a mid-March start to DST and the candy companies pushed hard for an early-November end; you sell more candy when trick-or-treaters troll the street when its still light. Read the story here.

The candy and golf cartels have conspired to give us our current pattern for Daylight Saving Time. You make more money. The NCAA and the television networks have pushed March Madness into April. You make more money (and who cares if semi-final games are played on Easter Sunday?).

Maybe that is why I like our crazy ancient calculations that keep us from making as much money as we might from what’s left of the culture’s celebration of Easter. Even if the bunny and bonnet cartels are not lobbying for a change, we know that the pressure is on for a “standardized Easter.” I’ll vote no.

Since the Council of Nicaea in 325, Easter Sunday has been set as the first Sunday after the first full moon (technically, the ecclesial full moon – that’s another story) after the vernal equinox. That means Easter lands where it wants to land. Sometimes as early as March 22 and other times as late as April 25. This year’s March 27 Easter is relatively early. We won’t celebrate so early an Easter again until 2035.

The date of Easter messes with things. Flower merchants have make their lilies bloom too early or last too late. The schools got rid of an Easter break long ago. Spring breaks not only avoid any church and state issues, they put us back in charge of things. We’ll decide when to take a break, thank you. And certainly in the church, many would argue for getting Easter under our control. No more Easter cantatas on the same day we spring forward or after the Little League season has begun.

I get it. Easter always celebrated on, say, the second Sunday of April, is no more and no less likely to put us near the actual date of the first Easter (which we do not know) than the first Sunday after the first (ecclesial) full moon after the vernal equinox. But Easter coming when it will between March 22 and April 25 is a nice reminder that we are not as in charge as we think.

Our granddaughters in Michigan will have to get up before dawn’s early light next week and will go to bed long before sunset in June. There are candy bars to sell and green fees to collect.

God won’t be lobbied. God does what God does always in the fullness of time, there being a time for every matter under heaven. I’d rather live in God’s time than Daylight Saving Time anyway.

Spring Ahead and See You Sunday!