Now Is the Time
Time has a funny way about it. Moment by moment, it slips quietly by. Seasons and holidays return, whether we are ready for them or not.
The ancient Greeks used two words to describe time. Chronos referred to seconds passing into minutes into hours and into days, summer giving way to fall and winter, November passing into December. Chronos is the way we grow older, time and this world flowing past us like water through a riverbed.
Their other word for time was kairos. Kairos describes the important moments that happen, the day or season in which something of great significance is occurring.
In chronos, Dec. 7, 1941, was 24 hours long. In kairos, that day shattered and reordered the entire world. It lasted until World War II was over. We could say it still carries on, the standard by which all disasters are now measured.
Nov. 8, Election Day, only lasted 24 hours. But it was a kairos moment, a day that America seemed to convulse and quake. Repercussions of that day’s events will last for generations to come, for good or for bad.
The days before the election indicated that our country was divided, and the response proved it. Some woke up elated and hopeful; others awoke angry and fearful.
People are hurting. Our country is angry. Some protests have become violent, but so too have some people used Mr. Trump’s victory as an excuse to engage in religiously, racially and sexually motivated attacks on our population. The early days of the transition process don’t portend well for our country’s future.
In a few weeks, Christians across the country will celebrate another kairos moment, the coming of God to Earth in the form of a baby named Jesus. Christmas may include singing and laughing and feasting and presents, but it is ultimately about a refugee family fleeing from government tyranny and about God entering human existence in an act of sacrificial love.
The Sunday after the election, I stood in front of the Lakebay Church congregation and said we have one calling in life: the work of reconciliation. I told them that our model is the story of Jesus, who left behind power and privilege to identify with the poor and the powerless; who, from love, sought out his enemies and called them to peace.
This is a kairos moment. The world needs reconcilers, people who will listen before judging, forgive when wronged, and seek the good of others before acting out of self-preservation. We need men and women who will partner with suffering people to stand against systems and structures that dehumanize and crush hopes and dreams, be they rural farmers or those caught in urban squalor.
Will you join in the voices of destruction, bigotry and divisiveness? Or will you join us in the hard work of peacemaking and reconciliation?
On behalf of the Key Peninsula ministers, I pray that the light of Christmas drives away the darkness in our lives. May we all be peacemakers, wherever we find ourselves.