The Sundial is Wrong

Before the last Lord’s Day service, I snapped the old Georgian sundial on our chapel’s frontage. Unusually for Lancashire, it was sunny, but the displayed time was wrong. The dial’s shadow suggested it was 9.35, whereas it was 10.35, the service shortly to begin. How could it be out by an hour?

Last month, British Summer Time began, in accordance with the Summer Time Act 1972, which legislates for the clocks going forward by an hour. It extended the 1916 Summer Time Act, which sought to extend the working day’s natural light to assist the national war effort, and was unknown to our chapel’s builders one century before. Hence, the sundial is always an hour wrong, except in winter, where there is no sunlight anyway.

The sun has not shifted, neither has the chapel’s position. Parliament effectively rendered incorrect a perfectly accurate method of timekeeping. I have no real objections to this particular example of parliamentary meddling, but I do regard that institution’s determination to alter established truths and natural facts as an increasing problem for the churches of Christ. Parliamentary sovereignty is the highest authority in the land, higher, essentially, than the Crown itself. From time to time, it should be reminded that there is a Power in the nation greater even than it, and to whom its honourable members shall be held accountable:

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;

Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,

And you perish in the way,

When His wrath is kindled but a little. Psalm 2