Friday, September 7, 2012

Tick-tick-tickin' away...

Tick-tick-tickin' away.....Bonus points to whoever can identify the music group that sang that song!  Hint: it was 90's classic in any youth group worth its salt!  I was only about 8 when it was big, but as a youth pastor's kid, I considered myself a teen starting at about age 4!  For whatever reason (maybe from hanging around all those teenage girls in the early 90's) I've always loved dangly earrings and for some inexplicable reason at the age of 8, I had these neon pink and green alarm clock dangly earrings that I loved.  I felt so grown-up with dangly earrings and they totally went with the cool tick-rock song!  So naturally I felt incredibly cool wearing them, along with my hot pink tube socks, of course.

That song was super catchy and while the deeper theological meaning likely went unobserved by the average teenage listener, I'm fairly certain that the tick-tock song was intended to be an (overly simplified and almost certainly Darby-esque) eschatological statement.  But the aim of this post is certainly not to offer up a critique of the eschatology of 90's Christian rock songs, lol.  Time has just been on my mind.  Like a lot.  A lot, a lot.  Baby girl has decided she will come just when she feels like it, and not a moment sooner.  And I'm annoyed.  Annoyed because everyday that I'm still pregnant, I am reminded how very much I am no longer in total control of my life.  A new person is entering the scene with her own personhood, will, and desires.  Maybe that's giving an unborn child a little too much credit, but whatever, lol.  It's how I feel.  But I'm also anxious because my family is coming into town on Tuesday and get to stay for one week.  One week.  And if she isn't born before or during their stay, my parents won't meet her until Christmas and my brother until March at the earliest!!   So I'm feeling the pressure.  (And yes, double entendre certainly intended.  )

Over that last few months, I've been reading through Scripture chronologically having started in Judges.  It's been a smidge depressing to watch the rapid rise and fall or Israel, all the disobedience and sin, the exile, the return to the rubble that was once Jerusalem.  Recently I got to the book of Esther.  Esther is certainly one of those books you could buzz through in about 20 minutes but for some reason, I've been lingering there.  For about a week, I was fixated on about two verses; it was like those few words had something to say to my soul and I just needed to soak in them for a bit (but that's another blog post that will have to wait).  Lately, I've been thinking about the most infamous phrase from the book that is likely very familiar: "for such a time as this".  After Mordecai asks Queen Esther to risk her life for her people by approaching the king uninvited, he suggests to her that perhaps the Lord placed her in her position as queen for "such a time as this".  I've always thought that was such a profound truth, and so poetically put.  "For such a time as this."

I confess I don't know a syllable of legit Hebrew (other than a few vague things about 'ruach' and 'hesed' like any seminary grad) but I have done some work with Greek and I can't help but think that the author of Esther, had he/she written this story in Koine, would have taken advantage for the Greek word, kairos.  You know how in English we have multiple words for certain things or concepts, like the concept of desire for example?  You could say, "I want to go back to school someday."  Great, that communicates a desire for more education.  But you could also say, "I long to go back to school someday."  Different word, but technically the same idea; you desire more education.  But it's pretty easy to identify the connotations hovering behind those two words, right?  There is a difference between 'want' and 'long'.  The latter feels so much weightier, right?  So much more involved, more impassioned somehow.  Greek has lots of words like this, multiple words for similar concepts but with significant variation in connotation.  The concept of time is one such example.  In Greek, a speaker or writer can talk about time in terms of chronos or kairos.  Chronos probably sounds a little familiar, like chronology maybe??  This word is used to indicate time as simply that, time: the passing of seconds, minutes and hours.  The word kairos is a but more nuanced, a little more layered in terms of significance.  Kairos is about more than just the passing of second, minutes, and hours; it's about the right time, that opportune second, that "just exactly right" moment to act or speak.  It's all over the place in Scripture, like in Romans 5:6 where Paul writes, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for us."  Or in Revelation 22:10 where the angel says to John the Revelator: "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near."  In both verses (and in countless others), there is this sense that God is acting, or is about to act, at just the right time, when all things are set in place as God sees fit.

All that information about kairos vs. chronos and all that jazz is really pretty meaningless without that last phrase though, isn't it?  As God sees fit.  I'm sure Sarah and Hannah (both OT women of faith) could have argued that God was a little late acting on their behalf, definitely not acting in kairos time in their opinion, but God was ultimately glorified at just the right time through these women and their offspring.  Same with the people of Israel.  They certainly would have appreciate the arrival of the Messiah a few centuries earlier but at just the right time God sent Jesus, in the flesh, born of a woman and born under the Law to save God's people and ultimately the world.  At just the right time.

So as I sit here, feeling as big as a walrus and about as mobile as one too (ok...that's an exaggeration, lol), anxious about the timing of my daughter's arrival and my family's visit, wondering when in the world this whole things is actually going to go down, I take a deep breath and remind myself: at just the right time.  Kairos time, God's schedule, when God sees fit.  

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