A Spirituality of Time
Two basic philosophical understandings of time:
1). Time is essentially a succession of moments, known by contents.
2). Time is the linear march from past, through present, to future.–This is a relatively modern view of time.
A History of Time
In Hebrew Scripture"
1). A point of time is referred as a “day”, a limited space of time as “days,” it is measured by its “content rather than duration.”
-In the Hebrew scripture time expresses whether or not someting is finished, accomplished. Example, When Paul explains the incarnation, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman…” Gal.4:34.
-Time is the medium for God’s action.
2). Human beings exist in time. God is eternal.
-Western and Greek thinking look at time as measurable, aspect of motion, the measure of change.
-The Greek had different words to translate the Hebrew word for time.
Aion (anglicized as “eon”)- generally means a duration or extent of time…" endlessly extended.
2.Chronos-relatively rare word in the New Testament meaning “a space of time”…period of time. This would be “chronological time” as we calculate it with watch and calendar, time is something measureable.
Kairos-A rich theological term. It conveys a point of time, an appointed time. A “kairos moment” is a point especially favourable for an undertaking, an essential or decisive point, when time is understood as fulfillment. In the New Testament, kairos is used for time as quality, as a special “place” or moment in the execution of God’s plan of salvation: Ex. in Matt.26:18 Jesus literally says, My kairos is near," “My time is near.” He is telling his disciples the moment for the fulfillment of my whole unique purpose in life is upon me
-Kairos is a special point of time when the self-revealing of God effects salvation.
Kairos moments are essential and defining moments.
-Our lives to are made up of chronos and kairos moments.
-The Chronos time of our lives are the events that happen to us. The kairos moments are the defining moments in our lives, the moment of new insight, of deeper understanding–moments when everything changes.
***One of the great acts of discernment in the spiritual life is to know which experiences are which. It is not unusual to recognzie the kairos moments only with 20/20 hindsight.
The Value of time
-The “value” of time “is not in time” but in clarity of thought:
-Kairos moments are moments in time when we are able to see through time, moments when God’s timelessness (the vertical) is apparent in human time (the horizontal or chorological). These peak moments are much more common than we imagine.
-When we slow down, when we become attentive to the present, when we are rooted in today, in the here-and-now, we permit God to “break through”, into our awareness. Kairos moments present themselves to us, pure gifts from God.
**For Biblical people, then, time is “qualitative and full of significance.” How we receive time, how we use the time given to us as a gift, how we “fill” our time tremendously important. Let us look at time as a commodity, something we expend or use up.
We have a responsibility to use what time we have well.
-The parables of Jesus make it clear that we will have to “give an accounting” of how we have used our time. Ex. parable of ten bridesmaids, the talents, the sheep and the goats.
-We also have to be alert to whether or not we are being enslaved by time… Is there a constant sense of too much to do and too little time to do it? Is this anxiety, itself draining our energy and drawing off the joy of life? And if so, what does it tell us about our life in God?
How do we use the word “Time” in our Daily Conversations?
“Spending Time”-How do we “spend” our time…How we spend our time and spend our money reveals our priorities and values–they tell us (and others) who we really are.
"Making Time-Time is not something we can manufacture, it is one of God’s many gifts.
-What is it that you would like to make time to do? And why aren’t you doing it?
“Taking Time”-When you take something it implies you steal or grab something. When God made time, God made plenty of it. God gives us the time we need to accomplish what is God’s will for us.
-Taking time implies showing down, being intentional, paying attention. Have you ever “taken time” to reflect on how God would have you “spend your” time?