Autumn Awe

I wonder, I wonder. . . What percentage of people do you think consider Autumn to be their favorite time of year? I’ve heard a number of people state this recently without any solicitation on my part. It’s just an exhale: “Oh, this is my favorite time of the year!” How interesting to me, because it is my favorite time of the year too! What is your favorite season?

Season makes me think of seasoning. Ha. Then it makes me think of the Greek terms for time: chronos and kairos.  Autumn should be spelled “awetum.” All the senses in the fall are in awe: the warm colors and cool breezes, the crunching leaves under stomping feet and hot, spiced cider under tantalized tongue. . . . All memory rich. . . .

Speaking of memory rich,  what tips the scales for the fall as Paul and my favorite season is that we were married on October 17, 1980. Since we’ve made our marriage work in spite of plenty of hurdles, that is, since our relationship has gotten “gooder and gooder” (one of my dad’s expressions), then the season is wonderful for us. If our marriage had turned south, then this could be a sad season with memories to avoid.

I’m sure your mind and mine can identify plenty of sad/sorrowful/painful memories for every season. Life is a mixed bag. (The hybrid seed from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is all about making life a mixed bag.) So, there have to be good memories in each season that temper the bad.

For me, 35 years with Paul Lawrence Olsen has been God’s grace to me. I don’t deserve a man who treats me so patiently and with such a servant spirit. (My sister will totally concur. But I do try to return his grace with more grace.) God had to pull lots of strings and reroute lots of roads to bring together this baby boy born in Edmonton, Alberta named William Armstrong, taken to California via adoptive parents and this baby girl born in Findlay, Ohio named Karen Louise Thomas, who attended college in Indiana and never wanted to leave the midwest.  (Take a breath after that long sentence.)

Karen and Paul

Karen and Paul

Truly, truly, we do not write our own stories. We modify them. We cooperate with the Author; sometimes we fight with the Author; sometimes we smudge pages, refuse to appear on some pages, appear where we don’t belong, but ultimately, He controls the plot and themes and crafts His Story into ours.

Chronos plots the kairos, revealing providential themes entwining multiple characters. Okay, what’s she talking about?

Some years ago, I did a word study on chronos and kairos. Last night the words confronted me again. Today, during the reflective time in communion (the Eucharist) — a time when I often read some biblical portion prayerfully, I found myself in the concordance/dictionary section of my Bible reading about these two terms for time and looking up passages. I was “redeeming the time” of reflection. Hmm. In the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, Dr. Zodhiates’ explanation of kairos struck me in a new way. It is amazing — the way Bible words slice me sometimes like a two-edged sword so sharp I don’t feel anything but awe. Hmm.

Let’s look at kairos in the context of chronos.  Dr. Zodhiates writes the following in the “Lexical Aids to the New Testament” in the back of this Bible:

 “Chronos: time as succession or measurement of moments as in        chronometer, a meter of chronos, of the passing moments without any moral impact as to the opportunity and accomplishment in that time as indicated by kairos (2540), the time of opportunities.  Chronos has only length, not challenge of accomplishment, as kairos. Chronos embraces all possible kairos, and is often used as the larger and more inclusive term, but not the converse. In the N.T. used only in the pl., chronoi, together with kairoi, times and opportunities or seasons (Acts 1:7; I Thess. 5:1).”

That’s the entire entry. Chronos is chronology or timeline, while kairos is season or opportunity. I had understood this. But it’s what Dr. Z. wrote in his explanation of kairos that struck me.

Kairos: season, time, but not merely as a succession of moments which is chronos (5550). Kairos implies that which time gives an opportunity to do. Related to eukairia (2120), from eu (2095), good, and kairos, opportune time, opportunity. Kairos, however, implies not the convenience of the season, but the necessity of the task at hand whether the time provides a good, convenient opportunity or not. There is really no English equivalent to the word kairos, appropriate time, which when used in the pl. with chronoi (times), is translated as “seasons,” times at which certain fore-ordained events take place or necessary accomplishments need to take place.” (Color added.)

The green sentence struck me — “the necessity of the task at hand . . . .” Kairos assumes the existence of purpose, plan, even calling which is accomplished within the medium of chronos. Immediately, I thought of the N.T. references to “redeeming the time” (KJV). This participial phrase is employed in Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 although translated as “making the most of your time” and “making the most of the opportunity” respectively in the NASB. Participial phrases are phrases not sentences. The modifying phrase must be attached to an independent clause (sentence).Oh, I’m so tempted to play in this grammatical sandbox!

Each of these phrases is attached to an imperative sentence. “Therefore [you] be careful how you walk. . ., redeeming the time” says Ephesians 5:16 (mixing NASB and KJV). “[You] conduct yourselves with wisdom. . . making the most of the opportunity” (Colossians 4:5 NASB)). Through kairos (a given opportunity), we put in action what we believe. “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time [redeeming your kairos] because the days are evil.”

Sometimes the necessity of the task at hand requires us to be proactive in cultivating the kairos. This is good stewardship of our kairos. Remembering that God has prepared (purposes and goals) beforehand good works “that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Since “we are His workmanship [masterpiece], created in Christ Jesus,” certainly in humble confidence, we can pursue each kairos. ‘Tis the season – always.

To close this chronos/kairos, note that kairos shows up in I Peter 5: 6-7. This really pierced me. Here is the attitudinal posture we need in every season as we pursue opportunities.”Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time [kairos].”

‘Tis the season for a good word study. This gives you a start. And ’tis the kairos for Autumn awe.

**Note: The numbers in the quotations are lexical numbers connected to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

To keep it simply straight, remember:

 Chronos =  time: chronology or timeline.

 Kairos = time: opportunity or season.

Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: