Friday, February 15, 2019

Chronos or Kairos Time in 2019?

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma 3DM Acts 29 Missional Community Network Kairos Circle


The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul in 2019

The face of the astronomical clock above is brilliant. But what does it mean? How do you interpret it? It looks exceptionally crafted and thoughtfully designed. It seems like an invitation into a new world of discovery and imagination.

Sabbath can often feel the same. An invitation into a fantasy that might just be too good to be true. A brilliant idea, but one we can't grasp. 

Being a husband and father of four, along with being a neighbor, a citizen of Worcester, and a city pastor continues to stretch me. Mental cracks and crevices get revealed. I need grace to fill in the cracks.

As 2019 continues to roll forward in this new year, there is a call again from a familiar voice inviting us to enter into His Sabbath rest for us.

Learning to follow the scent of eternity

Below is an excerpt from Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath that expounds on this call (from Chapter 2 | A Beautiful Mind: Stopping to Think Anew):

"The Greeks understood. Embedded in their language, expressed in two distinct words for 'time,' is an intuition about the possibility of sanctified time. Time, they knew, has two faces, two natures. It exists in two separate realms, really, as two disparate dimensions, and we orient ourselves primarily to one or the other. One is sacred time, the other profane.
The first word is chronos familiar to us because it's the root of many of our own words: chronology, chronicle, chronic. It is the time of clock and calendar, time as a gauntlet, time as a forced march. The word derives from one of the gods in the Greek pantheon. Chronos was a nasty minor deity, a glutton and a cannibal who gorged himself on his own children. He was always consuming, never consummated. Goya depicted him in his work Chronos Devouring His Children. In the painting, Chronos is gaunt and ravenous, wild-eyed with hunger. He crams a naked, bloody-stumped figure into his gaping mouth. Peter Paul Rubens depicted Chronos even more alarmingly: a father viciously biting into his son's chest and tearing the flesh away, the boy arching backward in shock and pain.
Chronos is the presiding deity of the driven.
The second Greek word is kairos. This is time as gift, as opportunity, as season. It is time pregnant with purpose. In kairos time you ask, not 'What time is it?' but 'What is this time for?' Kairos is the servant of holy purpose. 'There is time for everything,' Ecclesiastes says, ' and a season for every activity under heaven.'
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, ... a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, ... a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (3:1-2, 5-8)
This year, this day, this hour, this moment each is ripe for something: Play. Work. Sleep. Love. Worship. Listening. Each moment enfolds transcendence, lays hold of a significance beyond itself. Ecclesiastes sums it up this way: 'I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end' (3:10-11).
Chronos betrays us, always. It devours the beauty it creates, but sometimes chronos betrays itself: it stirs in us a longing for Something Else – something that the beauty of things in time evokes but cannot satisfy. Either we end up as the man in Ecclesiastes did: driven, driven, driven, racing hard against chronos, desperate to seize beauty but always grasping smoke, ashes, thorns. Seeking purpose and finding none, only emptiness.
Or we learn to follow the scent of eternity in our hearts. We begin to orient toward kairos. We start to sanctify some of our time. And an odd thing can happen then. Purpose, even unsought, can take shape out of the smallest, simplest things: 'I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God' (Eccl. 3:12-13).
This is a gift of God:  to experience the sacred amidst the commonplace – to taste heaven in our daily bread, a new heaven and new earth in a mouthful of wine, joy in the ache of our muscles or the sweat of our brows.
... Maybe it's time to change your mind: to stop feeding Chronos his own children and start sanctifying time." – pgs. 36-38

Stepping into Kairos Time in 2019 instead of Chronos 

So what do you think? Which time dominates your life as you look at the year ahead? Kairos or chronos?

Right now I'm striving against chronos. I need kairos and contentment. I need Jesus to enter into every second so I don't just end up with me, alone, counting down the minutes. 

What if He is always present and He is offering each of us His powerful peace? Wouldn't it be Good News of great joy to hear Him say, "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest?" Who else can offer that to us in the winter of 2019 whether we deserve it or not?

I need to turn my thoughts to Jesus to amaze me in how He does His work in me and through me even when I feel like I'm drifting or failing. I need to gracefully loop back to what He began, and trust He will fulfill what He promised as I rest in the story He is writing for me today.

He says He can do that, and in remembering this, I desire His company and rest all the more.

"Sanctifying some time adds richness to all time, just as an hour with the one you love brings light and levity to the hours that follow. To spend time with the object of your desire is to emerge, not sullen and peevish, but elated and refreshed. You come away filled, not depleted." + pg. 36

For more excerpts from The Rest of God, check out these links: 

+ City Notes | The Rest of God Part 1 of 3
+ City Notes | The Rest of God Part 2 of 3
+ City Notes | The Rest of God Part 3 of 3

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike “Sully” Sullivan

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