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Spring 2011

‘Iolani’s Endowed Chairs: Making a Great School Even Greater
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Spring 2011 - Department | St. Alban’s Minute

St. Alban’s Minute

In the original Greek language of the New Testament there are two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos, refers to “clock time” or the passage of hours, days, weeks and so on.

Kairos, on the other hand, is special. Kairos time is not scheduled. When it happens, and you are in the moment, you are in kairos, and chronos has little relevance.

Have you ever done something you truly love only to discover that suddenly time has slipped away, be it surfing, at play with your family, or another favorite activity? That’s a little bit of kairos.

For example, I spent an afternoon with Lower school students and science teacher Kathe Warner ’82 by helping to take apart a VCR/DVD player, a laser printer, and a car stereo. Helping? I don’t know how, but an hour had passed and I had completely forgotten about an event after school. Blame it on kairos. The nature of kairos is qualitative and not quantitative like chronos. In terms of faith, moments of kairos are moments in which God’s Kingdom, or teachings, or presence, or however we wish to call it can become fully known.

Jesus proclaimed that “God’s kairos has come and His kingdom is near. Repent and believe.” (Mark 1:15) In announcing “the good news of God”, Jesus identified the coming of something new; a new way of looking at things and of understanding the presence of God. Kairos moments are where the kingdom of God comes into our lives and we are changed.
Another moment of kairos came to me while reflecting on the life and ministry of a fellow priest whom I never met. Buried in January of this year, at Christ Episcopal Church in Pomfret, Connecticut, the Rev. Burton MacLean who served has headmaster of ʻIolani School from 1959-1970 and died at the age of 94 was laid to rest. At ‘Iolani, some of us personally knew Father MacLean, but all of us are beneficiaries of his legacy. His vision and leadership helped to build many of the aspects of school life we enjoy today: buildings in the Lower School, the Upper School library, Lower Gym, swimming pool, Cum Laude Society, the ‘Iolani School Bulletin, Stone Scholarship program, and the Senior Prefects positions to name a few. He helped lay the groundwork for the gift to ‘Iolani that financed building the Castle Building. His life reminds us that, like smoke that dissipates from a room, our chronos will come to an end. Still, though gone from us and now in God’s glory, his vision, and his presence on this campus leave a lasting legacy. May his soul and the souls of all the departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

As we move in the seasons of Lent into Easter, amid the passing of time that is chronos, we have the before us the wonderful possibility of discovering moments of kairos. Perhaps you will discover them playing with your children or grandchildren; in the birth of a child; amidst the laughter of family and friends; in the presence of someone you love; in prayer or a moment of spiritual awakening or connection.

Whenever these moments of kairos occur, we can discover that in them we get a glimpse of heaven. They are moments where God’s presence can be real and known.

The Rev. Daniel L. Leatherman