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St Paul’s And Holy Cross

1st of February 2014

With Christmas well behind us we are now settling into another year. For many of us the most significant commemoration of 2014 will be the anniversary of the start of the First World War and I am sure there will be much reflection on this throughout the year.

Society nowadays appears to be focussed on the ‘here and now’; e.g. we have fast food to match our fast way of life. But how much thought do we give to what we do with the time that we have?

In my studies at college, a few years ago, I came across a book written by Daniel Stern, entitled ‘The Present Moment’, which explored, amongst other things, two different concepts of time. One, with which some of you may be familiar, is called ‘chronos’ and the other, maybe not so familiar, ‘kairos’. Society today appears to focus on the first of these two Greek words, which we occasionally come across in the world of athletics. Hence, when Usain Bolt breaks a world record he starts the race at a specific moment in time and finishes seconds later. This is reflected in our society, when everything is needed ‘right now’ and therefore we tend to live very much in the present moment. Life today is often all about the individual and the ‘moment’ and we can feel pressured to rush to the next event and the next ‘moment’ in our lives.

However, let us slow down and think about the concept of a kairos moment. Stern argues that kairos is a rich moment in time, describing it as ‘a comet passing through space, which has an aspect going forward and a tail which becomes a much deeper moment than a chronos moment’. In a kairos moment we bring all that we have been and all that we hope for, so that the moment we have now with those around us is a much richer ‘now moment’, apparently lingering for more than just a brief second. My thought is that as time for all of us seems to rush by ever faster, we pause and consider in some of our more peaceful moments and attempt to experience the richness of the past, the joy of the present and the hopefulness of the future.

Therefore live each moment, not as society demands, from one fast minute to the next, but savour your time as the lingering taste of a fine glass of vintage wine. 2014 will undoubtedly bring a mixture of challenges and opportunities so, rather than racing ahead, can I encourage you to spend precious time with your loved ones, enjoying kairos moments?

Finally, let us take time and make space in our lives to reflect, in a kairos rather than in a chronos way, our relationship with God – wherever we may be on that journey; counting our blessings, looking for opportunities and holding on to our hope in Him.
Philip Waine, Reader, St Paul’s Church

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