Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sabbath as Kairos: A Salvation Event

Robert Webber reminds us of the importance of time in worship. Chronos is ordinary time. The regular moments of every day that sequentially move us from minute to minute, day to day, and year to year. Kairos is a different measure of time. "Kairos is time that marks a crisis or a turning point in history" (Worship is a Verb 156). These moments of time are the interjections of God's work in the world. Scripture speaks of various moments in time that have been Kairos moments for God's people. The God-moments forever transform God's people and mark their journey.

Webber writes, "Like the Hebrews, Christians also have a kairos moment which informs and gives meaning to historical sequence. It is the Christ-event - the birth, life, death, resurretion, ascension, and promised return of the Savior. As Christians, we confess that all time has a center. And that center is Jesus Christ himself who has redeemed all things... From this center, this kairos event in history, the meaning and significance of all time radiates. It is through the remembrance of the Christ-event in worship that we are able to sanctify all time. Therefore, time in worship now becomes a means through which we can enter into the service of the King... by recapitulating the kairos event, [we] can mystically and symbolically represent time as redeemed and proclaim the birth, life, death, resurrection, coming of the Holy Spirit, and return of Christ" (156).

Sabbath is not chronos but kairos time. It is a crisis moment or turning point in our lives, a place for God's interjection into our normal time and routine. Sabbath provides space for those God-moments that form us as God's people. It is an opportunity for our lives to be transformed from the pharaoh-driven world to the Exodus rest of God's salvation. Kairos time still impacts and orders our chronos time. It charts a course and directs our path. Sabbath centers our lives upon Christ, who is the Lord of the Sabbath. In so doing, we are directed to enter the chronos of life as holy people made in the image of God. Sabbath, especially in our commercial and commodity laden culture, may well be a salvific event for us and for the Church as we recognize our value is found in Christ not commercialism.

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