I have just coined a new word - hypermillennialisation, the state of over-emphasis on the millennium and the state of frustration, anxiety and mental tiredness caused by this over-emphasis.
Do you like the word? You won't find it in any dictionary. You're not likely to - within twelve months the word will be quite irrelevant - and it won't be needed for a long, long time!
But we need it now. I have no idea whether you thought such a word necessary, but dare to believe that you do now. So… do you feel hypermillennialised?
It has been coming on for some time, forced upon us by all sorts of people. The computer people like shortening things down. They had to in those early days when the equivalent of a modern high school student's scientific calculator would have filled a room of your house.
But they have kept it up. They have borrowed that old computer code and their old shorthand has led to the Year 2000 paranoia, shortened (yes, they are still at it) to Y2K!
A couple of months ago I noticed that a local newsagency wanted to sell me a "New Millennium Diary". What nonsense! I thought. It's just a diary for the year 2000. Just think how massive it would be if it was really for the new millennium. It would long outlive its owner!
Local businesses are now circulating a "New Millennium" calendar. I looked at it carefully. It starts at 1 January 2000 and ends on 31 December 2000. It is only for the year 2000, not for the "new millennium" after all!
Public figures have added to this mistaken millennial bombardment. Our Premier, for example, brought in a State budget which would, he said, take Queensland into the new millennium. If he meant the early 2000's, that's OK, but I don't really think that any government's budget will be for this millennium.
In September I had written a note for our Buderim Notes and News about "All that Millennium Nonsense" - printed and all - when both our ex-Moderator and new Moderator got onto the band-wagon at Synod. We need strategic planning for the next five years - maybe ten or twenty at the outside - but we fool ourselves if we think we are doing something of millennial significance!
But now the year 2000 has come. The dreaded Y2K has been a fizzer. We have watched the world-wide celebrations - excellent, I thought, and a good way to promote international understanding and peace.
There are still those who will debate whether the new millennium has begun - or whether we must wait another year. (If you want to get particular, Gregory XIII devised our present calendar in 1582 - there have been small adjustments since - and miscalculated so that Jesus was probably born in 4BC! The third millennium has already begun!)
The key to it all is reflected in the reissue of the Jesus video under the title The Man behind the Millennium. And in the Tongan heralding of the new year with the Hallelujah Chorus. And in the drape on the Sydney Harbour bridge with the word "Eternity".
Somehow our celebration - and our living - is very hollow if it doesn't take place in the context of what God has done and of that final climax towards which time and history are moving.
So… do you feel hypermillennialised? Ground your life in Jesus Christ, the Man behind the millennium - for time and for eternity.
© Peter J. Blackburn, Journey, February 2000