How do we handle sacred space? In Philip Yancey’s book, Grace Notes, he writes,” Rather than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times.” Time is also a focus in the book of Ecclesiastes. Remember those words, “There is a time for everything…”?(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NLT)
During Sunday School, a class member reminded us the Greek language has two words for time. Chronos, which is clock time, quantitative and sequential. And Kairos, which is qualitative and significant time like, “I’m having the time of my life.”
Well, as I age, I’m aware of both when I open my eyes and behold a new day with relief and anticipation. So, I welcome Philip’s nudge to pause for a moment.” It’s one of the benefits of aging. There’s more time to pause, to listen and maybe hear God in what may seem like the nothing part of a day. Then, at a later time, discover some minutes morphed into moments. Touched by Kairos.
Part of my nightly ritual includes reciting Psalm 23, The Lord’s Prayer and several Bible verses. But only after I review the day and thank God for blessings easily missed. It’s not that I’m so holy, but that I’m so needy. I need the focus. It helps me shift from worries and concerns to the best that was and my hopes for tomorrow. Trust me, when Jud was around, I wasn’t reciting verses at bedtime. But that’s another story I won’t be telling, except to say, I miss him.
Speaking of Psalm 23, I learned something about sheep from reading Forward Day by Day, a daily devotional from the Episcopal Church. This month’s contributing author, Rex Peterson, is a sheep rancher in Nebraska. His reflection on Psalm 23:2 gave me pause. “He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.” He added,” Lying down in green pastures is a rewarding but risky business. It means regularly leaving the familiar behind and being vulnerable to risks and enemies. It also means trusting the Shepherd and following the commands.”
Actually, I get it. For much of my life, but no longer, I needed to be made to lie down, with or without the green pastures. My Mama’s last words to me, just before she died were, “Janice, go to bed!” I’d hoped for something more edifying and affirming. Well, I blame her Norwegian genes for making me think working is holy and pausing to ponder is a form of sloth.
So, back to time between times. Some of you readers are facing moves. It’s tough to leave the familiar, no matter how challenging it’s become. The familiar feels safer than the unknown pastures ahead. However life’s risky at both ends of the spectrum. In the middle we’re working too hard to notice, sometimes. But maybe it helps with whatever you’re facing to pause between tasks. Take a moment and remember the Keeper of the clock is also the One who blesses minutes with moments.
Yours and mine.
It also does me good to focus more on the Shepherd and less on where I’m headed. So I recite, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” (Psalm 23:1, NLT) Then settle into, “My times are in your hands…” (Psalm 31:15a, NIV)
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