Time Enough At Last
Time is funny.
It crawls when you are waiting for the next thing. But it seems to fly when you aren't paying all that much attention to it.
Remember what it felt like to watch the clock in your elementary school classroom as it inched toward 3 o'clock or whenever your school let out for the day? It felt like time had very nearly come to a halt, didn't it?
The opposite has been true lately for me. I wake up at 5AM (or so) and then it feels like a blink of an eye and it's 9PM and I'm exhausted and wondering what happened to all of the time I thought I had when I arose.
Time is funny.
Did you know that time is not really linear? There is not really a straight line from point "A" or a point "B" when it comes to Time. Time is actually curved, if that makes sense.
For example, a person floating in the space station above earth will experience time at a faster rate than those of us on terra firma. This is because time will bend due to differences in gravity and velocity.
When Einstein figured this out it essentially turned the scientific world on its ear.
I've always been intrigued by Paul's understanding of the timing of Christ's arrival in history---the moment when God became one of us in order to rescue all of us.
For Paul this is the difference between chronos and kairos in the ancient Greek way of denoting time that is linear (chronos) and holy time that operates in a much different way (kairos).
Paul had this notion that the moment when Christ entered history was a moment that opened up a thin space between our reality and the kingdom of God.
Thomas Devaney put it like thsi: "Time was open wider then, so wide in fact that even now it isn't all the way shut."
And further Paul also believed that whenever those of us who follow Jesus embody God's kingdom, when we seek fill the world around us with God's shalom, we are actually living in that fulness of time, inside of holy time, kairos.
Here, let this blow your mind:
Why is it so hard to believe that when we act in ways that demonstrate the unconditional love of God, that God's kingdom actually breaks through in those moments, and we are actually traveling through time to where God's kingdom and love is happening everywhere?
Is your mind blown?
Let's take this a bit further... What if we lived as though every moment had the potential to be a moment that is covered in kairos? What would our days look like then?
Would we blow through our day with so much busyness that we have no idea what happened? Or would we live in dread of the moments that come after the moments we're in because we have no hope that either will bring us peace?
In his classic book on the Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel noted this:
We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.When we begin to see time differently, and realize just how complicated and full of potential it is for so much shalom, we honor it more, we spend it more wisely, we don't dread or fear it.
Henri Nouwen once wrote:
"Celebrating life is not a party, but an ongoing awareness that every moment is special and asks to be lifted up and recognized as a blessing from on high."So celebrate life today by approaching each moment with holy anticipation. Push back against the desire to bemoan how time is crawling, or flying by. Train yourself to simply mark time in kairos measurements like joy, hope, peace and love.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.