I’m fairly convinced that the type of popular music that we like is linked to when we were juniors and seniors in high school. My personal favorites include Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Birds, Three Dog Night, The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, The Who, The Beatles, and, especially, The Moody Blues, who I repeatedly listened to as I read and reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Whenever I think of Middle Earth I can’t help but think of the mystical sounds of the Moody Blues. “Tuesday Afternoon” even has the sounds of the longriders’ horses galloping along.
Here I am past the tipping point of middle-age, and life’s bookends are staring me square in the face. This is an in-between time. On the other hand, rethinking childhood and adolescence is an idyllic mixture of triumphs and wounds, from first love to broken bones, winning seasons to a Charlie Brownish dropping of the ball. On the other hand, I anticipate the future and new adventures. One week from tomorrow the South Carolina Gamecocks start a new football season. I long for a future where Narcie is done with chemo and all is well with family and friends! It’s hard at whatever the age to keep one’s mind off the “befores and afters” of life.
But God is eternal and knows no time though time-bound for a short period through Jesus’ incarnation. For God, age is ageless. For God, time is always kairos not chronos. “Kairos” is one ancient Greek word for time. It defines time by the content of the moment. “Chronos” defines time in the manner that I am most accustomed. By its definition time is spatial, chronological, and linear. Chronological time views things as “fifteen minutes UNTIL something,” or “thirty minutes AFTER something.” Conversely, kairos time is more digital than spatial. It is defined by the God-moment, the experience rather than by what comes before or after.
In this regard our watches and clocks which display time in a spatial way, with spaces between seconds, minutes, and hours, are antithetical to a celebration of the “now.” Digital clocks and watches flash the exact hour and minute begging us to think in the present and live in the now without pressing us to think about before and after. I’m almost to the point of only using the time on my smartphone because it is always accurate for the present moment whenever that is. God help us to live in the now!
The past may have been great, and I am looking forward to better days ahead, but to live faithfully in this world is to do it as God does – giving my complete attention to whomever and whatever is before me right now. Martyred missionary Jim Elliott said it best, “Wherever you are, be all there!” So wise and true! Therefore, if our favorite music is defined by the content of certain life stages, may we dare give another listen to the sounds about us today? It might not be just classical, swing band, country, rock and roll, pop, the blues, or ballads or my favorite XM station “The Blend” that we need to listen to today. There just might be enough God-presence in the sounds of a loved one’s sigh, the arthritic creaking of our own joints belying the hopeful maturity of the years, the halting words of a recovering loved one or friend, or the sweet-baby noises unintelligible yet profoundly clear in their message of love upon which we need to focus today.
So, my hope today is to hoist my antennae and soak up where I am, with whom I am, and especially ponder the whispers and shouts of the Living God. Jesus, I want to listen to your music today so focus I will, for time is of the essence! Today I will choose to think digital and live digital in God’s Time. I am listening, Lord!