All my life I have been used to the date system of “BC” and “AD” when looking at dates, particularly as I read and research the Bible. The expressions “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini” (The year of our Lord) have been second nature to me. So I was perplexed this morning when I found a Wikipedia article referencing “BCE” and “CE”. Apparently, this means “Before Common Era” and “Common Era”. Although there is no numerical difference between the two naming systems – they both refer to the Gregorian Calendar – the very fact that something so deeply entrenched in my psyche has been abandoned by the society in which we live, came as a surprise, even a bit of a shock. And our schools here in the UK have been teaching this system since 2002 so I’m told. I cannot see any reason why this change should have been applied, other than yet one more example of the creeping secularisation that is being imposed on Western societies.
Compared to the plethora of anti-Christian laws and attitudes in society, it is just a small thing. I am much more bothered by topical issues such as abortion and gender confusion, the persecution of Christians in this country and beyond, the repression of Biblical Christian views and values which we value so highly. But it highlighted to me again the importance of discerning the times, and being on my guard to avoid the dilution of the Christian values I hold so dear.
The Bible provides much advice about the times in which we live. Ecclesiastes 3 famously starts with, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens“. But an important point emerges from the thoughts of Solomon in verse 11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” Eternity. Independent of any time system. No Gregorian calendar or secularist philosophies where we are heading. Perhaps the perspective we need for this life comes from Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”