In his book, “Tranquility,” David W. Henderson talks about the nature of time, comparing ordinary moments with extraordinary ones:
“The [Greek] world ‘chronos,’ from which we derive our world ‘chronological,’ suggests the steady, paced unfolding of time: one hour, one day, one year, one generation, each followed by the next, none different from the next or previous.
‘Kairos,’ on the other hand, is time freighted with significance, moments laden with momentousness. When a writer chooses kairos over chronos, they often wish to speak not just of any moment but of a decisive or crucial one. Used this way, kairos is extraordinary time, amplified time, crossroads time, hinge time.”
As we walked through Epiphany, we touched on some of those pivotal “kairos” moments in Jesus’ life and in the ministry of his followers. The bright star in the heavens that guided the Magi to his side. Jesus’ baptism by John and God’s voice from the heavens declaring to all present that He was well pleased in his son. The transfiguration witnessed by Peter, James, and John, where Jesus is briefly revealed in all his otherworldly splendor, side by side with Moses and Elijah. The appearance of Jesus with two of his followers along the road to Emmaus, just days after his resurrection. And finally Saul’s earth-shattering kairos moment where he was blinded by a light from the heavens and the voice of Jesus while on the road to Damascus.
These were all pivotal moments of revelation, when the steady unfolding of chronos time played out by the dates on a calendar or the hands on a clock was suddenly intersected by something truly momentous.
As you take time to reflect on the season of Epiphany and prepare for Lent, consider some of the kairos moments in your own life. When has your steady day-to-day been disrupted by a piercing moment of clarity or revelation? When has the ordinary suddenly become extraordinary? Kairos moments may not always look like a blinding light or a booming voice from the heavens, but God is no less present in them. Let’s pray to remain open to these hinges on which our lives can swing, and to trust the guidance and direction of the closest and dearest of companions in these moments, the One who knows our every thought.