You can’t “put time in a bottle.” However, the Greeks did split the concept of time into two words.
A few days ago I wrote a blog about the how the ancient Greeks had two words for time, but English only has one word for it. Check it out: It’s About Time For A Brief About Time. The two Greek words are chronos (which refers to the passing of time and from which we get the word chronology) and kairos (which refers to special moments in time and/or the right timing).
Afterwards, I made a list of phrases about time and divided my list into what I think are chronos and kairos. I’ve been pondering those phrases ever since. And I keep getting the sense that it’s kairos time in Nashville.
Then this morning as I was driving down a street in Nashville that I haven’t been on before, I saw a large red sign that read: “Kairos.” When I arrived at my office about an hour later, I was checking our Salvation Army Berry Street Facebook page and one of the first things on the status feed was about a group called “Kairos Nashville.”
What’s it all mean? I’m not sure. However, here are the time splitting phrases I wrote down.
Chronos: Passing time. Kairos: Understanding the time.
Chronos: Time flies. Kairos: Your time is coming.
Chronos: It takes time. Kairos: The time of your life.
Chronos: You’ve got the time. Kairos: Now is the time.
Chronos: It’s a matter of time. Kairos: It’s time to . . .
Chronos: Just take your time. Kairos: Just in time.
Chronos: Watch the time. Kairos: The right time.
Chronos: As long as time endures. Kairos: A moment in time.
Chronos: There’s plenty of time. Kairos: An opportune time.
Chronos: Time in (during a game). Kairos: Time out (during a game).
Chronos: The river of time. Kairos: The fullness of time.
Chronos: Make the most of your time. Kairos: Appreciate the best of times.
Chronos: Rushing through time. Kairos: Time and time again.
Kairos transcends chronos.
Immediately after writing this I picked up an anthology of Christian mysticism that I have been reading and began to read a section (for the first time) by German mystic, Meister Echart, who lived in the chronos of the late 1200s and early 1300s. He said:
“Wait upon God in this present moment and follow Him into the light, by which He may show you what to do and what not to do — how to be new and free with each moment. . . There is an agent in the soul, untouched by time. . . God Himself is that agent of the soul in that eternal Now-moment. If the spirit were only always united with God in this agent, a man could never grow old. For the Now-moment, in which God made the first man and the Now-moment in which the last man will disappear, and the Now-Moment in which I am speaking are all one in God, in whom there is only one Now. Look! The person who lives in the light of God is conscious neither of time past nor of time to come but only of the one eternity.”
A day after posting this I was reading in the same anthology and came across these words by Heinrich Suso:
“Be steadfast, and never rest content until you have obtained the now of eternity as your present possession in this life.”