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Amma Sue - Sept 2014
I do enjoy crosswords. Not I hasten to add the really clever ones that require you to follow complex cryptic clues; despite many attempts these remain quite beyond my capacity and I end up agreeing with that old Monty Python sketch – “doctor, my brain hurts!” I’m afraid that I only aspire to those which my on line newspaper calls “Quick.” I’m sure you are all familiar with them they’re the ones where the answers are usually simply different words meaning the same or similar things, or are test of your general knowledge asking for the capital city of a particular country for example. Contrary to their title I usually find the ones on line are anything but quick! The problem is English is such a funny language, even for native speakers who have spent all their lives speaking and listening to it. You see, as the crossword compilers have demonstrated there are many different words that mean almost the same thing, and other words that are spelt the same, even sound the same, but in different contexts mean quite different things, and those which are spelt the same but depending on what you mean are pronounced differently! Take “bow” for example. Depending on what you’re talking about it could mean “bow” as in “I bow before the throne”; or it could mean “bow” as in a hair ribbon or on a bunch of flowers; or it could even mean “bow” as in the bow of a ship! You see my point?
From my limited knowledge of other languages it seems to me that this is somewhat less of a problem for them. Take Greek for example. Greek has two words that in English are translated as “time.” Chronos which is “clock-time”, hours, minutes, seconds; days, weeks, months. And kairos which means something like the “right time,” the “best opportunity” or to quote Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl – “The opportune moment.” For many of our great spiritual writers and thinkers, it is kiaros that best describes spiritual time. A sort of God’s eye-view of things; as that great twentieth century spiritual writer Henri Neuwen has suggested, chronos – clock-time keeps us prisoner and leads us to believe that clock-time is all we have to live, but when we come before God in prayer and worship we are given a glimpse of eternity, of kairos, of the right time. The Christian hope and foundation is that chronos is not the only time, that this life is not the only reality, but that in Christ we have the doorway to kairos – a new and eternal life and time in Him.
So as we live our clock-time, busy with the day to day activities of life, let us not lose sight of kiaros the opportune moment, the time spent with God in private prayer and public worship. For it is only kiaros that we find to be our true freedom and the true time which is the promise of eternal life in Jesus; to quote Henri Nouwen himself: “Looked upon from above, our years on earth are not simply chronos but kairos… which is the opportunity to claim for ourselves the love that God offers us from eternity to eternity.”
May God bless you all today and in eternity.
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