Wednesday, February 12, 2020

An Invitation into Rest in 2020 | Choosing Kairos Over Chronos

The Bible Project | Holy, Whole-making Rest in Jesus

The Rest of God: Restoring Our Souls in 2020

The face of the astronomical clock below is brilliant. So many moving parts. So many layers. But what does it mean? How do you interpret it? It looks exceptionally crafted and thoughtfully designed. It seems like an endless invitation into a new world of discovery and imagination. But do we have to figure it all out? Or can we admire it without dissecting every facet?

Finding rest in life can often feel the same. So many moving parts to consider, to stop, to trust don't rely on our awareness 24/7. Why is it that during a time when so much leisure is seemingly offered to many of us in the 21st century western culture, that true rest seems so evasive? Why does simply being still and enjoying the small things seem like an invitation into a fantasy that might just be too good to be true? Sure, knowing how to rest is a brilliant idea, but is it one we can grasp? I love how A.J. Swoboda addresses some of this in "Chapter 8 | A Wanderer's Rest" in his book, The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith:

As Americans, we see rest as largely environmental and emotional. We see rest as something that's fundamentally self-created, self-initiated, and self-made. The Bible takes no such individualistic perspective on the topic of rest. Nor is rest something that comes with getting our lives in order necessarily. Rest, as we come to find in the story of Moses in the desert, is something God finds on our behalf. "The Lord went before them ... to find them a place to rest." What kind of God does this? What kind of God has time, let alone a passion, for finding rest? ... While other gods may demand seven days of work with no rest whatsoever, this God is different. The gods of contemporary society rebel against this kind of Sabbath insistence. Get to work, they say, never rest. Or you'll get the pink slip. ... The first thing in the Bible that God makes holy is a day, the Sabbath day. And when Sabbath isn't honored, all of God's creation begins to break down. In the same way that God invented the sun for our plants to make chlorophyll, God invented rest that we might live and enjoy living. + pgs. 134-135

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

In my own story, being a man, a husband, a 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 rest and grace to fill in the cracks. I need the Lord to go before me to find me a place to rest, otherwise I'll just keep wandering, working, and wilting away.

As a new decade arrives in 2020, there is a call again to me, and to each of us, from a steadfast, mysterious cosmic voice inviting us to enter into His rest so that we can live with Him in time while not being bound by it.

Do We Need the Scent of Eternity in Order Not to be Enslaved to Chronology?

Below is an excerpt from Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath that expounds on this question (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 2020 instead of exhausting ourselves in 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 2020 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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