Twenty years ago, Staci and I had explored all sorts of possibilities about how we might spend New Years Eve, from going out with friends to calling it a night early. Sprinkled through our conversation were all sorts of jokes about where we might want to spend our last earthly moments.
It was, of course, the end of the millennium, and with Y2K concerns looming large, there was no shortage of anxiety.
Well, two decades later and the earth is still spinning and our computers are still running. Even now, there is no shortage of predictions that suggest “the end” is right around the corner.
The end may come soon, or it may not.
Either way, we are all impacted by our perspective about time. One of my favorite expressions that seems to capture the changeable nature of time is, “Life is short, but boy do a lot of days feel really long!”
The ancient Greeks had two different conceptions of time: chronos and kairos.
Chronos, as in chronological and linear, was a way of measuring time in a sequential manner.
Kairos, on the other hand, was a way of understanding an opportune, appropriate or critical time or moment.
Understanding the difference between these two conceptions of time is extremely important for those who have chosen to follow in the Way of Jesus.
Our proclamation that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and that Christ will come again, is paramount to our understanding of time. Fundamental to our faith, and central to our sacred Christmas narrative, is the belief that, while we wait for Christ to come again, we live in kairos time, not chronos. Our Scriptures are clear: “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.“ (Mark 13:32-33).
Kairos is used 86 times in the New Testament. All of these references to time point us to an understanding of the Kingdom of God as an opportune time, a critical moment.
A great deal of our lives, for good or for ill, are dominated by chronos time. Our Creator God, who lives beyond time and space, on the other hand, invites us to live our faith in kairos time. Opening ourselves, embracing and engaging the endless number of opportune moments in which we can choose to follow in the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love. Moments in which the Kingdom of God is being made known.
May our time in 2020 be filled with seeking and serving Christ in all persons.
Happy New Year!