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Prisons and Kairos Time

Matthew 11. 2 - 15

When John heard in prison what the Messiah* was doing, he sent word by hisdisciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’

In today's gospel, we hear John the Baptist speaking from prison, asking if Jesus is the one they have been waiting for. Shortly after reading that passage this morning, the meditation above from the prison lectionary showed up in my inbox...Kairos time began. A pause in the middle of morning rituals to experience prison life. John the Baptist in prison reaching out to Jesus, Terrance “Lil’ Bear” Plummer in prison reaching out to Jesus. Time stopped and the essence of God in Christ woke in my heart.

Then I read Richard Rohr's message for today containing Symeon the new theologian's (949 - 1022) words about the Body of Christ.

We awaken in Christ’s body,

As Christ awakens our bodies

There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,

He enters my foot and is infinitely me.

I move my hand and wonderfully

My hand becomes Christ,

Becomes all of Him.

I move my foot and at once

He appears in a flash of lightning.

Do my words seem blasphemous to you?

—Then open your heart to him.

And let yourself receive the one

Who is opening to you so deeply.

For if we genuinely love Him,

We wake up inside Christ’s body

Where all our body all over,

Every most hidden part of it,

Is realized in joy as Him,

And He makes us utterly real.

And everything that is hurt, everything

That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,

Maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged

Is in Him transformed.

And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,

And radiant in His light,

We awaken as the beloved

In every last part of our body. [1]

Yesterday my beloved Godfather Bob Hess asked me if Kairos and Chronos time echoed Rohr's True Self and False Self; this morning God revealed that echo.

...and that is Kairos time: God coming through in a divine moment regardless of the limitations of Chronos time.

Like 'Lil Bear and John the Baptist trapped behind bars recognizing Christ...false selves silenced and true selves brought to life by the Love of Christ, by the good news that breaks through prison walls and hard hearts and closed doors.

That is what Advent means to me!

1] Saint Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 15, “We awaken in Christ’s body” from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, ed. Stephen Mitchell (New York: HarperPerennial, 1993), 38f.

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