By Pr. Rhoda Klein Miller
Installed in 2015, The Watch Seller is a lifesize bronze sculpture that functions like a deconstructed public clock. Covered in 720 watch faces, the Watch Seller has every possible minute of a 12-hour analogue clock visible on his figure. He always has the correct time but is also out of sync. This piece is an homage to the shared history of train travel and standardized time, which were invented together in the 19th century. You’ll find this work streetlevel right outside the Main Street Skytrain entrance and across from Pacific Central Via Rail Station. Public art shapes our cultural context and is also an opportunity for spiritual reflection and dialogue. When I view the watch seller I think about our broken relationship with time. There’s a viral Tik Tok of Ed Mylett, a successful entrepreneur explaining his time management strategy of compressing 21 days into a week with the goal to be as productive in 6 hour time blocks as people typically are in a single day. In his philosophy “the person who is in a bigger hurry through the days WINS.” Wins what? I wonder. You might make those extra deals and dollars but in the words of Jesus “What good is the profit when you gain the whole world but forfeit your soul? (Matthew 16:26 & Mark 8:36). There is a clash of council between what society and scripture says about time management. Society admires and idolizes productivity gurus or cosmetic surgeons, turning those into celebrities who can both maximize or reverse the impact of time. Hours and clocks are human construction. God set time and measured days by the cosmic dance of planets and stars. All of nature’s creatures can sense time and seasons but people have lost touch with God’s required rhythms of rest and labour (Jeremiah 8:7-9). And it’s destroying us. Thomas Merton called “the rush and pressure of modern life” a “pervasive form of contemporary violence.” Hurry is the death of prayer and love. If your time goals have been about control, achievement or self indulgence consider renewing your view of time. Surrender every opportune moment to God’s guidance and get back in sync with a divine schedule. Trade the pressure to perform for the pursuit of peace and walk with Jesus at the pace of grace.