LIGHTING THE CANDLE
Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
“For such a time as this…” People have long thrilled to these momentous words spoken to a young Esther. She was being called by God to awaken to her special time in history for saving her people from genocide. So also, today’s scripture calls for us to awaken to our special time. Each of us, every believer, is positioned for just such a time as this.
Paul begins with what is likely a fragment from one of Christianity’s earliest hymns: a summons for believers to wake from their spiritual slumber. We must wake to the light of Jesus, so that we will know how to live, “making the most of the time.”
The Greek word Paul uses for “time” is important for understanding God’s calling us for such a time as this. Paul uses the Greek word kairos, coming from the word kara, meaning, “to come to a head”. Kairos thus signifies time that has come to a head and ripened; it specifies the right time for action, the perfect and opportune time. Kairos means more than the empty succession of hours and days, but is the God-appointed time for significance in history.
John the Baptist heralds Christ’s coming as signaling kairos time, coming to a head: “The time [kairos] is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:15). Similarly, the apostle Paul points to the cross of Jesus as carried out in God’s perfect time, God’s kairos time: “For while we were still weak, at the right time [kairos], Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). History had come to just the right time for Jesus to take away the sins of the world.
The apostle Paul wants Christians to awaken and understand that we live in God-appointed kairos time. With the light of Christ in our lives we can act wisely, “making the most of the time [kairos], because the days are evil.” We, no less than Queen Esther, are destined for such a time as this.
Like the ancient Ephesian Christians, we live in “days” that are “evil”. But the light of Jesus shines, making these days, kairos time, a time for bold and decisive action! We must join the Holy Spirit’s creative and powerful work in the world. This is our time, our opportunity to lighten the darkness!
PALMS DOWN/PALMS UP
Loving Father, we rejoice that the light of Jesus shines in the darkness around us and that the darkness cannot overcome it. Help us today to live as “children of light” and to act boldly in this God-appointed time. May we be wise to see the world around us in the light of Christ, and to make the most of every opportunity to shine for you in dark places. Amen.