• 32°

An encouraging word: The source of stability

By Howard Coop

For a long time, I had wished for a sundial. Then, one Christmas, I unwrapped a package, and there, to my surprise, was my sundial. 

To work properly, the sundial had to be aligned with the North Pole, the northern end of the earth’s axis. My neighbor, who had a compass, helped me position the sundial on the lawn, and it worked perfectly.

Now, a sundial is an instrument that indicates time by the position of the shadow of a pointer or gnomon cast by the sun on the face of the dial marked in hours. The sundial indicates exactly when the sun reached its meridian height in the middle of the day. At any time during the day, the shadow cast by the gnomon indicates the exact time. It is dependable, reliable, and invariable. It cannot be adjusted or reset.

A few months after I installed the sundial, I noted something. I had been reminded by many sources to set my watch ahead one hour. By act of Congress, we were going, at two o’clock in the morning, from Eastern Standard Time to Eastern Daylight Saving Time. The next day, my watch said that it was twelve o’clock at noon, but the sundial said that it was eleven o’clock. There was no change in the time indicated by the sundial. Noon comes when the sun reaches its meridian height.  Even Congress can, by legislation, tell you to reset your watch, but regardless of laws passed, it cannot reset the sun. Some things cannot be changed.

We live in a dependable and reliable world, not in a topsy-turvy world where things are always unpredictable. In a dependable word, there are fixed principles to guide us. They cannot be changed under any circumstances. In this world, good is good, and evil is evil; right is right and wrong is wrong. All human “piety and wit” is unable to “cancel half a line…of it,” for some things cannot be changed. This is the source of our stability.