“I would like to meet with you. Do you have a little time?” “Do you have a second?” “I am so busy. I don’t have time for myself.” “I don’t want to waist your time.” “I don’t have time for what’s important.”
Any of the above sound familiar? It is said that time is the new currency, for time has a value that none of us can afford. In the English language we have only one word for time, but in the Greek language there are two words: chronos and kairos.
First chronos: Chronos is clock time, measured time, quantitative time. In Greek mythology chronos was depicted as an old man having a long beard, carrying a scythe and an hourglass. Chronos was a Greek god who actually ate his children. Yes, chronos time can be demented; it can kill us.
How often do I look at my wristwatch? Diane’s father’s initial estimation of me was very positive, for I was extremely punctual, to the minute. Chronos time is not quality time, but is time that controls us, determines our actions, measures our days by the amount of work that we get done. Chronos time is enslaving and does not give us meaning, quality. With chronos time there is no connection of moment to moment, for there is only a measured entity. As we live only in chronos time we are constantly on the run, seeking, not quality but quantity of time, of life.
Kairos time, on the other hand, is the right time, the fulfilled time, the appointed time, the opportune time, the qualitative time. Kairos time in the Scriptures is God’s time. Kairos time is lived in the Now, not in the past or in the future. It is the Now which carries beauty and meaning, purpose and fulfillment. Kairos time is this moment, whatever we are doing, and the Now is significant.
Perhaps that is why a man we know as Brother Lawrence who lived in the 1600’s as a monk who washed dishes all his life, became so aware of the presence of God in the moment, even the moment full of pots and pan. II Corinthians 6:1-2 says that “Now is the time of salvation.” Now! This moment! Whatever we are doing! Now is God’s moment, saturated with the presence and meaning and purposes of God. Thus kairos time is quality time in this moment.
In this light we do not necessarily need to change the actions of the moment, but rather the attitude and the awareness of the moment. If every moment is God’s moment, than living in kairos time means that we are both thankful and very much alive and attentive to all that is unfolding in the moment. Perhaps kairos time is “heart time, ” in which we filter all that is taking place in our lives, not by the measurement of our wristwatch, but by the impact of our hearts. So the events of the moment are not obstacles that we have to face in order to live fully, but the events are opportunities to see the footprints of God or hear the whispers of God.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5: 15-16, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” “Making the most of the time” is not filling up our day times with more demands, more things to accomplish, but a greater awareness of the moment, the quality of the moment.
Some thoughts to ponder as you live in the moment, the day of salvation.
For you members of Grace Lutheran I will be leading another Day Retreat under the theme “Spirit Walking” based on Galatians 5: 25 (RSV). This will be July 30th. A signup sheet is in the Fireside Room.