Chronos and Kairos

Image by Pfeilgiftfeder/

We’ve set our clocks back for the fall once again, and it’s amazing how much adjustment that takes, especially for our young grandchildren.  Our bodies can’t always be adjusted the way we re-set the hands of time on our clocks.

Time isn’t really malleable, but it can be perceived differently.  The passage of time can seem agonizingly slow when we’re waiting for holidays or speed on wings when we’re out for an evening of fun.  And when we rush through our life, we miss so much of what is beautiful around us.  Carl Jung once remarked that “hurry is not from the devil, hurry is the devil.”

You need time for the ingredients in your slow-cooker to simmer and the spices to marry.  Wine mellows over time.  I learned in college that if I chose my essays topic early, all sorts of serendipities enriched them.

The Bible refers to a “fullness of time,” a metaphor that reminds us of sands in an hourglass, or the time of waiting for a child as it develops in the womb.  καιρός is an ancient Greek word that means the right, critical, or opportune time.  It’s refers to timing, our sense of the right time to act.  It’s a valuable skill in a fast-changing world.

God chose the time of our birth, and his gift of eternal life is limitless time.  I’ve wondered sometimes. If I have eternal life, is there a part of me that is already in the eternal presence of God?  And if that’s true, do I have access to the wisdom of perspective of this “self” already now, like a guardian angel?

There are so many questions, but we do know that we want to spend time with those we love.  When we spend time in the presence of God in prayer, we can feel that all-encompassing love.  In taking “time to be holy,” we are made whole.