Kronos & Kairos

More threads coming together, again from different sources. Exciting 🙂

Packed myself off early yesterday (This 9-week old come-&-go headache is, erm, a headache). Something about pillows and being surrounded by rows of books and piles of stationery that’s sweetly comforting. Picked up a borrowed title on the table, but it didn’t feel right. Put it back down. Phone wailed for charging. Brought it to the wall. Came eye to eye with a title that’s been with me for 3 years, unexamined. Followed a prompting and slipped it out from its comfy nook. Opened it randomly.

* Gasp * Kronos and Kairos, read the sub-header. Exact phrase from Wed, and in a closed-group email on Mon.

The sense of time also changes through the evolving fields of dialogue. Most of us live in what I would call sequential time: measured, linear, one moment after another. This kind of time we could call kronos, after the Roman god of time. Kronos still controlsl us; most people have his emblem strapped to their wrist! The relentless pressure arrow of kronos time is the one most of us try to manage. We often have the sense that it is scarce, that we must ration it.

But there is another kind of time: the time of the seasons, of the moment. This kind of time, which is called kairos, is the sense of time you have when we walk outside in late August or early September and say, “Fall is in the air.” How did you know? Kairos is the sense of time you get when you go to the beach, and can tell whether the tide is coming in or going out. Again, how did you know? Your own inherent awareness of cycles and rhythms tells you. Kairos time reveals the movements of natural rhythms; it is the sense of “appropriate time,” the “right” time for something. Where kronos follows the external schedule, kairos follows an internal one. The cycle of gestation and birth for a child is pure kairos.

The process of dialogue helps us to rediscover and appreciate kairos. We have had many dialogues where two hours go by and people are shocked: “Where did the time go?” they ask. “It seemed like we had barely begun.”… We must learn to appreciate and accept both kinds of time. Both are necessary in the world as we know it. But usually kairos is dominated by kronos. The process of thinking together with a group in dialogue seems to enable people to shift their experience of time. They embrace kairos. They gain perspective, they rest, and they develop a keener sense of when to act and when to reflect. …

— William Isaacs [Dialogue and The Art of Thinking Together]

Guess this is the lesson for the week.

I thought about kronos and kairos applied to different things that are occupying my mind and heart at this point. I saw how kronos has often introduced anxiety and doubt into my outlook. But remembering kairos (God’s time) tells me that there is an appointed time for everything; and to have peace that while I’ve been seeking God this year, He has seen to it that I’ve learnt and done what I needed. Nothing more, nothing less. The next season is coming, and He is no less there than He has been with me this year.

Does it mean that kronos is bad? No! Kronos disciplines me to not be complacent about decisions. Kronos cautions me to not be reckless and boundaryless in my relationships. Kronos helps me to cherish the days I put aside for hiding away in God. Kronos keeps me vigilant for lessons in my year-out – knowing that it is not a time that goes on forever – and prepares me for action.

Kairos… ensures that kronos doesn’t overwhelm me.

In kronos, things have clear beginnings and endings. But God is eternal, timeless – before time and reigning way after time ends. He IS.

In kronos, there is always change – we refer to things, places, events, people as ‘past’ (history), ‘present’ (now) or ‘future’ (new). But God is immutable – His Word stands forever, unchanged. His promises are sure – from the day He made them, till their final fulfillment.

In kronos, we can’t go any further ahead of what we know today – we sometimes even have trouble remembering the recent past! Even with all our technology, we can only know so much. But God is omnipresent & omniscient. He has complete, unlimited knowledge and awareness. He perceives all things, and is present in (presiding over!) all situations.

* Double Gasp * Now I know why I was struck by Sunday’s message.

A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
– Isa 40:6-8 

Before head hit the pillow, flipped to where I stopped in Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, and read on a bit. Pg 37-38.  * Triple Gasp *

“What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is eternal. He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change. He is immutable. He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure… He is omnisicent. He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events. He has no past and He has no future. He is, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.”

Am surprised I actually could fall asleep after that. Must be the medicine.

What reassuring thoughts to hold as the year runs out (kronos as well as kairos ;)).

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Lord.


About lilac butterfly

Live. Love. Learn. Laugh. Write. Draw. Colour. Blend. Play. Dream. Cry. Reflect. Pray. Sing. Worship. Bake. Cook. Rest. Give thanks.

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