Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life's Fast Moving Opportunity - 1 Thessalonians 5

    First of all, I want to thank you for all of your care and support for our family over the past week and a half.  Many of you came to visit us.  Several offered to help or brought us meals.  John David is a blessing, but you have also been a blessing and an encouragement to us.
    Second, I want to let you show you some pictures of the newest member of our family, and this is not John David.  Let me introduce you to Elliana Renae Palmer, or Ella for short.  Ella was born on Tuesday - three weeks early.  Michael and Elizabeth went to our hospital for a check up and were holding her in their arms three hours later.   John David and Ella were born 4 days and 32 minutes apart.  Sarah and Elizabeth were in the same hospital, on the same floor, just across the hall from each other.
    These are special times - full times - full of love and meaning and opportunity.  We couldn’t have planned it like this if we tried.  This was a beautiful, serendipitous blessing.  
    But these days will not last forever.  These moments are passing.  We can only experience them now.  You know what parents say to each other: Cherish these moments.  Before you know it, he’ll be riding a bike.  Blink twice, and she’ll be entering college.  They grow up so fast. 

    This is not far from our text today.  This week, we are finishing our study on 1 Thessalonians, so we’ll read all of chapter 5.  It’s pretty long, so we’ll take it in sections.  Let’s start with just verse 1.

1 Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you.

    You can’t catch it very well in English, but Paul actually uses two different Greek words for time here: chronos and chairos.  Chronos is for the simple progression of time - tick, tock, tick, tock.  One second after another, one hour, one day.  Chronos is the kind of time when you say, “Their plane arrives Friday September 2 at 1:05 pm.” 
    But Chairos is a different kind of time.  Chairos is focused on the quality of time rather than the quantity of time.  Chairos is closer to the idea of an opportunity or when we look back on a particular period in our life and say, “Those were good times.”  Chairos is like that moment of opportunity when there is an opening in a horse race, and the rider has to go fast before it closes.
    To help explain the nature of Chairos, the ancient Greeks depicted Chairos as a young man moving fast, with wings on both his back and feet. He is tipping the scales in one direction for now, right now only.  One scholar explains, “His hair is long in front and bald behind; he must be grasped, if at all, by the fore-lock.”  If you want to catch Chairos, you have to get ahead of it, or it will get away.  ...

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