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Chronos and Kairos - it's about time

Posted by Simon Parke, 23 March 2021, 10.08am

Chronos and Kairos, you’ll know the difference between these two time-keepers.

Chronos is clock time, something linear. The day begins, the day continues, the day ends.

Kairos is about the propitious moment, the right time, a window of opportunity; it is synchronicity and revelation.

Both describe time but describe it differently and lead to different experiences. Time will not be contained by the clock.

We have all, on occasion, been slaves to Chronos, watching the minutes as they tick slowly by. 

Or sat in traffic, aware we’re going to be late. The grip of Chronos can be harsh.

But we have also known Kairos, when time stands still, or passes in a flash, when something is revealed; when, for a moment, the clock is entirely irrelevant.

Chronos is methodical, reliable, inevitable and has its place. Sometimes its time-keeping is helpful, if we need to wake up, catch a train or take a cake out of the oven.

Kairos is more elusive, less obviously practical, mysterious, a wild child who won’t be told – but who, on arrival, makes everything new.

Kairos can overturn Chronos’ furniture, which is sometimes disturbing.

Some call Kairos ‘spiritual time’ and in the Bible’s New Testament, it gets eighty six mentions against the fifty four times Chronos is used. Here it is the propitious moment, the divine now.

We will spend much of our lives walking in step with Chronos, aware of the time, and where we need to be, and when, and with who.

There is grace here.

Though we stay open to Kairos and her kind visits - looking away from the clock and into the sky for the moments that make all things worthwhile.

Kairos won’t be tamed or caged; but she is drawn to the open heart and can bring eternity to our door -

- in something less than sixty seconds.


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