. . . posts on faith and life
We have reduced time to the point that it has lost most of its meaning. Ironically, in this attempt to simplify time it seems that our ability to make, find and keep time is more complicated than ever. In fact, one way to prove this point is to remember how much you wondered if you really had time to read this little article before you started reading it. If you are still struggling with that question I offer you one bit of encouragement: by the end of this entry you will see that there is always more time!
Did you know that there are several different types of time? I will mention three. First, there is what we call cosmic time. This is nature’s time, and refers to the movements, rotations and rhythms of the universe. The changing of seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, the coming and going of various storms, these are all subject to cosmic time. Humanity, even with all of our science, measures these movements with imprecision. Nonetheless, there are enough patterns in nature’s rhythms as to have a certain amount of predictability. Even Jesus acknowledged this, and thought it ironic that some could discern only this one type of time, “You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?” (Luke 12:56).
Second, there is chronos time, from which we get the word chronology. This is historical time, and refers to calendars, timelines and the plotting of past events. Much of humanity’s striving is centered around chronos. In any given culture things like work hours, holidays, family time, religious time and personal time become somewhat standardized by the society at large. By its very nature society is continually trying to get the very most out of its chronos. For many people chronos is life and life is chronos. When chronos ends life ends.
Third, there is kairos time. Philosophers call this existential time, mystics call it God’s time. The discernment of this type of time is the concern of the disciple of Christ. To the chronological believer life is precarious, often disturbed by a God who is unpredictable, with a tendency to be late if He ever shows up at all. However, to the kairotic believer life is full of surprises as God breaks in with new things at unexpected times!
Chronological time is temporal and will one day pass away. Kairotic time is eternal and will one day pervade creation in all of its fullness. Though we now only know kairotic time in part, as though looking through a dark glass dimly, there are still things in which we can be certain. For example, we know that the time is already fulfilled for the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 1:15), that Christ died for us, the ungodly, at just the right time (Romans 5:6), and that even now, when God’s time has not yet fully come, our time is always opportune (John 7:6). If you live with the idea that there are only 24 hours in a day then you will undoubtedly find yourself with too little time. However, if you are trusting your life to an eternal God who breaks into temporality at just the right times, you will know that there is always more time!