Chronos Time vs Kairos Time


As a J in Myers Briggs lingo and a 6 in Enneagram lingo, I am driven by the fear of not being on time! I live with an internal clock that motivates/drives me to be punctual and prepared for whatever is ahead of me. I often wish I could be late or lose track of time; clearly I am plagued by this obsession.

The discovery of Sabbath as a way of being (not just a specific time each week to set aside time for God) has been transformational for me in many ways...mainly because I have taken off my watch and hope never to put one back on! My internal chronos time clock is all I need, and without an external one I can lean into Kairos time in a deeply restful way.

Let me share with you this passage from Wayne Muller's book Sabbath, which I have mentioned here before to give an understanding of the richness of Sabbath time.

"Throughout this book I use the word Sabbath both as a specific practice and a larger metaphor, a starting point to invoke a conversation about the forgotten necessity of rest. Sabbath is time for sacred rest; it may be a holy day, the seventh day of the week as in Jewish tradition or the first day of the week as for Christians. But Sabbath time may also be a Sabbath afternoon, a Sabbath hour, a Sabbath walk - indeed anything that preserves a visceral experience of life-giving nourishment and rest… Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is not just a day off… It is the presence of something that arises when we consecrate a period of time to listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing or true it is time consecrated with our attention our mindfulness, honoring those quiet forces of grace or spirit that sustain us. "

It was these words and many more like them in Muller's book that turned me towards Sabbath living, towards embracing kairos time on my daily journey.

In Christian theological language, "kairos" means "the appointed time in the purpose of God," the time when God acts. "Kairos" refers to an opportune time, a "moment" or a "season" such as "harvest time," whereas "chronos" refers to a specific amount of time, such as a day or an hour.

Without my chronos time piece and with a longing for nourishment and mindfulness, I set out as often as I can at the 7th hour of the day to walk down the beautiful road above. I have discovered sounds, smells, tastes, sights and even touches that I did not realize were there. This is my Sabbath walk.

Sabbath has become a metaphor for "rest, renewal and delight," to use words from the title of Muller's book. I need it daily and am much more in tune to "the forces of grace or spirit" that sustain me than I could ever be in chronos time. Kairos Sabbath time is an essentially scheduled time on my daily calendar now.

Try it; you'll like it, as someone once said!

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