Rev. Luke F. Fodor
Saint Luke’s Church
It’s that time of year again, when we reflect back on the last four years high school/college or 24 years of young adulthood and wonder where the time has gone. Yes, Spring brings not only budding trees, blooming flowers, and the hint of new possibility, it is graduation and wedding season. It is a time when we ponder at the nature of time itself. Each year there are 8760 hours (or 525,600 minutes as the song from Rent) and so many ways to use those hours.
It is sometimes conjectured that the popularization of the marking the hours stems from the monastic tradition of the praying the hours. But these were not standardized or universalized hours that we are familiar with, but arbitrary “hours” that shifted with the seasons and the increasing or decreasing sunlight. The hour is one way to measure time—but not the only way. The ancient Greeks had two concepts of time: Chronos and Kairos. The former is how we measure our days and our lives quantitatively; whereas the latter pays attention to the deeply relational now…it is the qualitative time of life.
In her new book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock, Jenny Odell takes a deep dive into the fundamental structure of our society to demonstrate the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. She shares that Chronos is king and Kairos remains that project of artists and poets. She argues that this is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. Odell shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.
As you gather with family and friends this spring to mark solemn and celebratory moments of weddings, confirmations and graduation, I want to invite you pause to consider the time. How will you use your hours? Will you find the freedom of God to live in the Kairos or will you remain a slave to Chronos? The choice is yours.
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