In a way, it feels like nothing has changed; in another, it feels like nothing will ever be the same.
When I walked back into the church on my first day back from maternity leave, it felt like just yesterday that I had taken my directory photo and walked out saying, “See you next Sunday…maybe! ” On the one hand, it felt like I blinked, and my time away flew by. On the other hand, so much has changed. During my absence, the life of the community carried on without me: peoples’ lives changed – some for the better, and some for worse – holidays were celebrated, plans were made and events were held. A new church Council was elected, and they began work for a new year of ministry. And for me, my life changed in ways that will never be the same. I walked out (or should I say, waddled out) of the church as a pregnant pastor and I returned as a mother of two! I have experienced, endured and learned so much; in some ways, I almost feel like a completely different person. In just the blink of an eye, my life has changed, and it will never be the same.
St. Paul writes, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, about the kind of change that happens “in the twinkling of an eye.” In this manner, he describes how our existence can be transformed in a way that breaks the bounds of earthly time. When writing about the Second Coming, when Christ will return in glory, he says, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” When Christ returns to claim his rightful place as King, this world will be utterly transformed, and things will never be the same. The dead will live, the waiting will be over, and all will see and know the Lordship of Christ in heaven and on earth. Time as we know it will end, and a whole new reality will begin… all “in the twinkling of an eye.”
“We will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”
When I think about the time that has passed since the babies were born, in a way, it seems like an eternity; and in a way, it seems like no time at all. I think this kind of paradox of time is common when experiencing God Moments in our lives. Whether it is the birth of a child, precious moments spent with someone who is approaching death or a quiet moment spent watching the sun set over Lake Murray, often these God Moments have a way of defying the chronos time of this world, and ushering in kairos time, or “time outside of time.” I believe those God Moments are little glimpses of heaven. I believe God gives us those kairos moments where time seems to stand still, times when we are inexplicably changed in the “twinkling of an eye,” as little tastes of what life with him will be like, when all our earthly cares are gone, when he returns to usher in the Kingdom fully, in heaven and on earth.
I know for me, as I live into this new reality as a parent, where nothing will ever be the same, I will try my hardest not to let those God Moments slip by unnoticed. I will be on the lookout for the moments when God is entering into my reality to make a change in me, to transform me for life in his Kingdom. I pray that each of you will keep your eyes out for those kairos moments as well, and see where heaven is slipping into your earthly life, where God’s mystery is being revealed to you, little by little, as you walk with him in faith.