Weekly Blog - Angela Hughes:For Everything There Is A Season And A Time
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‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven’ … these well-known words of wisdom are from the book of Ecclesiastes 3 v1 – a time to seek and time to lose – a time to keep and time to throw away….. God has made everything suitable for its time.
And I reflect that time is an odd thing.
I remember the moment, twenty or so years ago, when my grandson – then in his early teens – responded to my rhetorical question, ‘How can it be almost Christmas? Just where has the time gone?’ with the simple explanation, ‘Grandma, it is because you don’t have much time left!’.
Maybe so. But how do we define it? Time is important to us. In fact we can become quite obsessed by time. How often do we complain that we have no time? And yet sometimes our waiting seems endless. Do we use our time well? It is so easy to feel guilty about time. It seems that from the cradle to the grave just about everything in life is measured by time. But how do we begin to measure it?
The New Testament has two words for time – chronos and kairos.
Chronos is measured in terms of length, of duration. And of course a chronometer measures such time – clocks and watches and so on.
Kairos time on the other hand cannot be measured in this way but only in terms of significance – by the results of events. Kairos time is all about the movement of God in our lives.
Jesus says, ‘The time is fulfilled (the time is come), the Kingdom of God is upon you, repent and believe the Good News.’ This is kairos time. Mark is presenting his account of the life of Jesus as a significant time that brings about change.
If the first disciples of Jesus were asked about their moment of ‘call’, I am quite sure they would not have been concerned with the time and day and date – rather with the life-changing consequences of that moment. A moment in which their lives were changed for ever - turned upside down They met Jesus and they gave up everything to follow. That was the effect he had on them. It was a kairos moment.
God uses events to break into our lives and into the life of the world. Events which challenge us and call for a response.
The current global pandemic continues to challenge us. We are beginning to ease out of lockdown, restrictions are lifted and we have long-awaited freedoms.
And yet … what next?
Do we strive to return to our old norms? Or do we recognise this moment as a window of opportunity – a kairos moment? Are we willing to let go of some of our long-held assumptions and habits? Ways of doing and being? As individuals? As churches? As disciples of Jesus in today’s world?
Do we feel overwhelmed and ineffective – helpless even? Perhaps we must remember that any big changes, in the end, depend on the individual and personal.
And I ponder our current lifestyles, our deeply ingrained prejudices, our set patterns of church, our use of the world’s resources. Will we let this moment slip by – or are we ready to sieze the moment?
By Rev Angela Hughes
Minister Stainbeck United Reformed Church
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