BY MARTHA CHEVALIER
"For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation."
(2 Corinthians 6:2)
Returning home from co-leading a biannual retreat for women battling or surviving cancer, I pulled off the isolated road to wet a line (go fishing). It was raining steady when I stopped, and by the time I had donned my waders and laced up my boots, the weather had morphed into a deafening downpour. I stepped into the fast-moving water on this unfamiliar river. I enjoyed the reassuring feeling of my studded boots securely gripping the slippery rocks. My glasses were useless, steamy, and the rain pounded unrelenting. My concentration was set as I worked hard to tie on a fly. Something emerged out of the river directly in front of me. I had no idea what it was, but based on the splash, I knew it must be large, perhaps an otter? Unwilling to break my focus from tying on the fly. I spoke out loud to whoever/whatever was bobbing at this point very near my left hip. Holding up my index finger and in the tone of a patient mother, I said out loud “hold on, I’ll get to you.” I was interested…. Moments later, I looked up to behold a king-size loon, less than arm’s length away... in borrowed words from Maya Angelou, “this creature was trailing wisps of glory.”
What could this possibly have to do with the bible? Occasionally, while reading the bible, I stumble upon my own “wild loon moments.” Sometimes the words on the page take on unusual bursts of glory. It’s as though normal time and experience shifts from business as usual to anything but usual. Water to wine moments, simple bread becomes a feast. … The ancient Greeks reflect such moments in their vocabulary, expressed through two separate words for time. Kronos, expresses time that’s ordinary, sequential, chronological, as opposed to a Kairos. Kairos has an eternal component, lasting, unusual, remarkable, infused with wonder and awe. The bible has many moments that feature Kairos time. The greatest Kairos wonder is found in John 3:16. For God so loved the world he sent his Son. Kairos tends to emerge suddenly, just like my loon. Moments when we come alive, encountering the living God at a precise moment in time. I suppose it’s akin to climbing into a dusty attic wardrobe, beholding the wonders on the other side. Moses had a burning bush (Exodus 3), Mary had a visit from Gabriel (Luke 1), Jacob encountered God through angels ascending and descending at Bethel while resting his head upon a rock (Gen 28). Elijah heard the still small voice (1 kings 19). Ezekiel saw the wheel within the wheel (Ezekiel 1). John, the beloved, encountered Jesus yielding wild revelations on the Greek Isle of Patmos. Are we any different? We are not.
“Suddenly my righteousness will come near, and my salvation will be shining out like the light; the sea-lands will be waiting for me, and they will put their hope in my strong arm.” Isa 51:5