From Chronos to Kairos: An Annotated Bibliography of the Christian Year -- By: Roger Lovette

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 08:2 (Spring 1991)
Article: From Chronos to Kairos: An Annotated Bibliography of the Christian Year
Author: Roger Lovette

From Chronos to Kairos:
An Annotated Bibliography of the Christian Year

Roger Lovette

Senior Minister, Second Baptist Church
Memphis, Tennessee

There are two words for time in the Bible. Chronos is ordinary time, or calendar time. Chronos time tells of the year king Uzziah died. This is clock-ticking time. Chronos looks at its watch and says: “It is nine o’clock in the morning.” Chronos time looks at the calendar and undersatnds the day in the week or the month of the year. We need chronos. It keeps us in touch with reality. But to live life only with clocks and calendars would be a threadbare existence.

So, into a poverty-stricken, threadbare world the Bible introduces us to another kind of time and, consequently, another world: kairos. This word also means time, but this time is very different from chronos time. Kairos means: “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the LORD high and lifted up and his train filled the temple.” Chronos looks at its watch. Kairos looks beyond the watch to the meaning behind the ticking of the clock and the pages of a calendar. Kairos time is birthday time. It is that occasion when we stop and light candles and sing songs and celebrate life. Kairosis anniversary time. It is that special moment when we take time out of a busy schedule to buy some special present and offer it with love by candlelight or music. Kairos is Damascus road time. It is that moment when our mname is called and we respond and life is forever different. A great miracle happens, Life takes on new meaning and the threadbare, poverty-stricken thing we call life is changed forever.

The Christian year takes ordinary time—chronos—and transforms it into kairos—holy time. Since the Council of Nicea in A. D. 325, the church has given direction to the faithful in their worship. Slowly, through the years, the church added event after event into its life and worship. Thus, because of a rich tradition that goes back hundreds of years, we now prepare for Christ’s coming with the season of Advent. We celebrate Christmas and we call this Christmastide, We focus on missions and the implications of the coming of the light and we call this Epiphany. Then we turn toward Calvary and Easter in that seven weeks of the Lenten season. All this preparation is the church’s way of getting ready for that day of days: the Resurrection. And then, if that were not enough, the church begins to prepare itself for Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. Early in the church’s worship, Pentecost became the second most important time in the life the church, after Easter. For this was the time when the spirit breathed new life on all those gathered b...

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