When the shootings in Parkland, Florida rippled through the lives of the young people there, we all experienced some form of impatience. Wherever you stand on issues related to the second amendment and gun control, there’s impatience in the air. Something does need to be done, but what, and how? How do we resurrect dignity in the face of our own impatience?
The young people of Parkland spoke. They used their voice to raise this impatience. In the space filled with sorrow and anger, they used the instrument God gives to prophets. How long, o Lord, how long? They restored their dignity by speaking to vulnerability and suffering.
When I imagine impatience and waiting, I see a sort of dance. Impatience wants things done now, and waiting is okay — letting some pieces fall naturally into place. Neither is wrong, we should want things done quickly; and we need to learn to heel our expectations. All of this is wrapped in the most valuable resource we have: time. In our Greek scriptures in the New Testament, there are two words for time. Kronos (chronology) is sequential time: this happened then that happened. Kairos is opportune time: the time to act, decisive time. I’ll throw in one more Greek word for fun: kerygma. Kerygma is proclamation.
For youth and young adults at St. Andrew’s and across the United States, we are in a moment of kairos. Our confirmation class is at an opportune time to practice their (kerygmatic) proclamation of faith. This summer, the youth group will participate in a kairos moment in fire swept areas of Northern California, proclaiming a Gospel truth of God’s wish to restore us and all of creation. With some help from my fellow young adults, we will embody a moment of kairos, seeking to serve people in our age group by studying our needs and understanding what needs kerygma amongst us.
What we make of any kairos moment becomes kronos, a sequence of events, in the rearview mirror. But in this moment, we still need to listen for the Spirit, discern our call, and then act in prayer and hope. What Christians kerygmatically voice is the resurrection of dignity of all people through the life of Jesus Christ and the grace of God. We, as the body of Christ, are called to restore dignity wherever it lies in shambles, or simply needs restoring. With the example of the Parkland students in mind, may we speak boldly in this kairos moment, and may we proclaim the restoration of all people’s dignity.