Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chronos and Kairos Time

Several years ago we invited a new couple attending our Sunday School class to join us for dinner. They arrived promptly on the appointed day. We enjoyed (I think) our dinner together; then retired to the living room to continue the conversation. The clock on the wall read 7:30. Several times the husband glanced up at it. Finally realizing the clock was not running, he checked his watch, jumped from the sofa, grabbed his wife’s hand, and exited with a mumbled excuse that they had another appointment. Were we just an appointment to them? Were they really with us? Their obvious obsession with chronos time did not allow them the possibility of our dinner being a kairos moment.

Kairos and chronos, two Greek words commonly translated “time” in the New Testament have different meanings. Chronos is the source of our English words chronology, chronological like calendar time and clock time.

Kairos refers to time appointed by God; sometimes translated, “the day of the Lord”. Brennan Manning defines it as “… when His love flashes into my soul and when I am overtaken by Mystery, it is kairos—the decisive inbreak of God in this saving moment of my personal history”. (Abba’s Child, p.59)

This past summer the white erase board that chronicles our month remained blank. The tan of my left arm showed no evidence of a wristwatch. A new freedom. I knew I was programmed by chronos time; I desired to experience kairos time.

When tied to the calendar and the clock, I’m so aware of what is next, I don’t live in and enjoy the moment. The word revel leaves me clueless. I crave more inbreaks of God.

Grocery shopping last week, I heard Dana call hello. We stopped and visited for several minutes. We parted ways; within two minutes Debby and I made eye-contact. I hadn’t seen her since May. We too stopped and chatted. I was living on kairos time; it felt right. With my grocery receipt tucked in my purse, I headed for the parking lot with a smile on my face.

Our sabbatical has ended; I am wearing my wristwatch again; our whiteboard calendar now reminds me of commitments. But the freedom continues. Kairos time and chronos time can work together. They are both necessary and good.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”.
Psalm 90:12

No comments:

Post a Comment