Posted by Mark Beckwith on December 03, 2010
Time is a four letter word. While not a curse word, nevertheless time can feel like a curse given the relative lack of it. Especially at this time of the year. We are often pressed for time; we try and find time for others -- or just for ourselves. We wonder where did the time go, almost as though it wasn't there in the first place. As I read over the 10th verse of the first chapter in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, I am reintroduced to the "fullness of time." Which for me is kairos time. Time outside of time. Unbounded time -- when a moment can linger for what feels like an eternity. Moments when we literally lose track of time. Most of us can recall moments of kairos time. The first few days after after our children were born was kairos time. More often than not for me, the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist is a kind of alarm clock for an encounter with kairos time. No telling what might happen in the fullness of time. "In the fullness of time", Eucharistic Prayer B beseeches God to "put all things in subjection under your Christ" (page 369 of the Book of Common Prayer); which I think the Prayer Book authors took directly from Ephesians. Children seem to be more open to kairos time than adults. Mainly because they are not bound -- as we adults are, to kronos time. Which is measured time. Most of us keep the measure of kronos time close at hand, if not literally wrapped around the hand. I think we have twelve clocks in our house, not counting computers or cell phones. I have three clocks in my office. If we are not slaves to time, we end up being indentured servants to it. Being on time -- and getting things done in time are important virtues, but our hyper-allegiance to kronos time runs the risk of erecting formidable barriers to the breaking in of the fullness of time. Where timeless kairos gifts await.