A certain large cat, witch and article of household furniture continue to hold their own at the box office. The jury is still out on whether C.S. Lewis intended The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an allegory or even analogy of the Christian kerygma. Be that as it may, I find some compelling parallels that help me grapple with the mystery of the disruptive invasion of kairos (a significant and compelling event) on chronos (regulated time, “clock and calendar” time).
This phenomenon occurs in Mark’s gospel (1:14-20) where Jesus strides onto the scene saying, “The time (kairos) is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe the good news.”
Such is the impact of the good news and so eventful is its sudden arrival, it can be likened to the Pevensey children’s stumbling through the back of a wardrobe into the land of Narnia. The extraordinary breaks into the ordinary – a true kairos occasion.
Further, the children find that engagement with a quest, aided by the great lion, Aslan, and opposed by the white witch, leads to personal transformation and accomplishment of a great thing that is beyond themselves. Indeed, Aslan installs them as monarchs of the land of Narnia, where they spend the rest of their childhood years growing into adulthood. But one day, they stumble across the back of the wardrobe and tumble back into the ordinary world. It seems that not a moment has passed; they are children again, yet the transformation remains. Such is kairos – that which is significant and eternal in essence takes scant notice of the turning of the pages of the calendar.
I wonder if this doesn’t go some way to answering a question that is often asked, sometimes incredulously, of the next part of the story in Mark’s gospel. In response to Jesus’ pronouncement, four fishermen, separately and one after the other, leave their nets and follow him. For them, a kairos moment has begun. For the time being, chronos can look after itself.