Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Context Of Time: A Brief Refelction on Luke 3:1-6

‘What time in the world is it?’ is the provocative refrain that echoes throughout the U2 360 degrees stage show. I have for the past week been wondering about it: A time for action, a time for compassion, a time for peace? Is it a reflection of the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 forever a part of pop culture because of Pete, Paul and Mary and the electronic Byrd’s version of the same song? It was interesting that this idea of time came up in my bible reading this week.

I was preparing a bible study on Luke 3 for Studentsoul yesterday and was rather taken by Darryl Bock’s reflection on Luke3:1-6. He commented that verses 1-3 puts John the Baptist and the beginning of Jesus ministry into its political historical setting. Starting with Tiberius Augustus and working through the political and religious structure of Palestine at the time. Then verse 4-6 a quote from Isaiah, puts John the Baptist in the context of biblical promise. It got me wondering about the fact we find ourselves in two interwoven strands of history, world history and salvation history. My bible reading for this morning (in my 'One Year Bible'   bible) was from Daniel 9. It starts gain by outing Daniel in the historical context of Darius the son of Xerxes being the ruler over Babylon. But Daniel is also aware that it is a different time in history as well. He looks at the prophet Jeremiah and sees that the 70 years of Exile that God had given Israel was coming to an end and he turns to god and prays that amidst all the moving and rising of empires and kingdoms that God would keep his gracious promise to his people and bring them back to Jerusalem.

In the midst of the whirl and swirl of change, the rise and fall of empires and systems, ideologies holding away and falling away even times like when change itself has changed as Leonard Sweet says that sociologists use terms now like churn and blur and things don’t just change they morph it is good to know that amidst that seeming chaos that God is sovereign and his salvation history is being worked out as well.

I guess the two terms for time in the Greek language of the New Testament bring out these two senses of time. Kronos meaning physical time and Kairos meaning season or as it has been adopted in some Christian quarters as meaning God’s time. While the fractal clock that accompanies this post would show time as an ever repeating pattern Christians believe we live in the reality of both times as they enviably flow to a God ordained conclusion.

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