But it is a good exercise for me; it is a good discipline. I have to listen with care, and speak, sometimes more than once, with love and mercy and persistence when something is especially important. Fortunately, they are good folks who persevere to communicate with me too.
It also is a good reminder for me about how confusing discussions of faith matters and Bible class points and sharing faith can lead to unintended circumstances. (Fortunately, the Spirit of God is the best "relief pitcher" ever.)
So for the next few days I am going to highlight some words that are important to followers of Christ because what we find in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is incomplete at best and runs down a very unhelpful bunny trail at worst.
Some of this is the fodder for millennium of truth seeking, theological discourse and not a few fist fights, so please don't take what I share here down to your clergy person and say, "See right here it says...." Because I am in no way the speaker of perfect truth. But considering these things has been a blessing to me. So maybe you could say to your religious mentor, "What do think about the idea discussed here..." because seeking deeper understanding is always a blessing.
I want to start with TIME, as in God's time. Looking at the concepts of time as we believe they were understood at the time the New Testament was written is informative.
In Greek chronos means time as in seconds, minutes, hours, day, weeks, months, years, era, eons and eternity, as a "point in time." Kairos is said to be the optimum time or "A propitious moment for decision or action." (OED) It is the kairos that followers of Christ might refer to as "God's time". We believe in times when "God provides an opportunity." But it is not, as the OED infers, a moment that can be enjoined or lost, but rather it is the idea that while we can and should wait for the best time to act, God makes "special times" for us to act or grow or reconsider along life's journey. A particular book or Bible study might shine light on something in our lives and, whether we remember something we have read earlier or insight from something (often a Bible verse or text) that is familiar or meet someone briefly who speaks words that touch us deeply at that particular "special time", we acknowledge it is God's grace showing up right on time in a way that we can at least get a glimmer of "something more."
These are the ideas that inform this position: (1) We are important to God and God has specific plans, opportunities, people, places, activities, and times of inactivity, that bless us, restore us, empower us, and enliven us, enlighten us, and this is God's omniscient (all wise) and omnipotent (all powerful) gift to us. (2) We have free will so we can accept the gift or decline the gift. (3) Because we fail to accept the gift at one point in time (chronos), God does not withdraw the offer of the gift (grace). (4) When we have missed something good, we are not excluded from figuring that out and joining in later, only to find that God's plan made use of our delay because nothing is outside God’s capacity to help us reach our highest good, our most authentic self that God created.
Kairos assures us that, even when we are not accepting of the gift, God continues to work in our lives, giving us experiences and knowledge and wisdom that comes in darn handy when we finally turn our face to God's, who has always been beside us, blessing us and equipping us for our tomorrows in this world and in the next.
It is never God's purpose to deny us relationship with Him and God never withdraws His willingness to be in relationship with us. This balances free will (God did not create us to be His 3CPO or Data droid programmed to serve Him) with amazing Grace (God's persistent wooing of us and welcoming us to Himself).
As much as I love this and as important as I believe this concept can be in accepting and experiencing the utter awesomeness of God, I think I need a nap. This seeking truth thing takes work! But, oh is it worth it!