The New Testament uses two different Greek words to describe time. The first word, chronos, is one that remains familiar to our modern ears–it refers to chronological time, the standard twenty-four hour day. The second word, kairos, carries a different kind of spiritual weight. Kairos is a word that is used to indicate “God’s time”, or to refer to an “appointed time” or “appointed hour”.
Many faithful, particularly youth and young adults, embark on special retreats called Kairos retreats, which are designed to allow you to escape normal time and enter fully into God’s time, growing in relationship with Him. Many retreat sites will even cover or remove all clocks, in order to symbolize this separation from reliance on temporal time, and to focus the attendee on entering into the presence of God.
Kairos retreats are also often taken at times of transition for young people, such as a transition from high school to college, or from adolescence into adulthood. By spending these times of transition immersed in “God’s time”, retreatants set themselves apart from their daily lives to devote themselves fully to listening to God’s call. At the end of the retreat, retreatants more deeply understand God’s unconditional love for them, and how this love persists, independent of earthly time, throughout their entire lives.
The Jerusalem cross is a symbol that is commonly used for Kairos retreats. The four background crosses represent each of the four days of the retreat, as well as the retreat motto, “live the fourth”, a reminder to retreatants to continue to abide in the presence of the Lord and recognize His movement in their lives beyond the conclusion of the four days of the retreat.