Meditation: What's The Season?

Below is a meditation I presented on Sunday, May 21st:


  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3     a time to kill and a time to heal,    a time to tear down and a time to build,

4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6     a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7     a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8     a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.


Second Reading:  Galatians 6: 1- 10:

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,

5 for each one should carry their own load.

6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.


 

So today’s  Old Testament reading is one of my favorites, although I’ll admit that I probably knew the song Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds which is based on this passage before I knew the actual passage.  It reminds us that life is not static; our world is continually changing and evolving.  Time does not stand still. As the passage says:  There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens. As we are created by God, so we are constantly evolving; as a people and as a church. 


Speaking on a literal level, we are in the midst of a change of season as late spring brings us to summer.  Unofficially, summer “begins” next weekend with memorial day.  The school year is wrapping up.  For me personally, that means a season of big change as my son graduates and then will head off to college.  Adjusting to this new reality is both wonderful and scary for my whole family.  Our lives flow from one season to the next, as “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”


As human beings, we tend to like the status quo. Many of us do not like change, even if we know that change for the better. It’s just easier and more comfortable when things stay “as they were.”  However, when change comes we can’t always discern if it is “good” or “bad.”  Sometimes what we think of as “bad” results in things that are beyond our belief.  Results that are beyond our comprehension.  Think back on Good Friday;  is there anything worse than crucifixion?  What is good about it?  An innocent man is tortured and dies?  Yet, Good Friday had to happen in order for Easter to occur.  There is no resurrection without Good Friday.  And certainly no one could have imagined the outcome of that horrible day.


As a church, we have been through some trying times.  We’ve faced the uncertainty of a pandemic.  Covid -19  that was a season that we never expected or were prepared for. One week we were celebrating communion, the next week we were worshipping in the parking lot and then we were in lock down. We struggled to find ways to worship together when we could not be together.  But we knew that this “season” could not last forever, even if it felt like it might.  We worked through the difficulties and found creative new ways to worship. We looked out for one another with phone calls, texts and social media.  As children of God we could not, we did not, let this plague keep us from worship and caring for one another.  Even if we couldn’t PHYSICALLY be together, we worked together and worshiped together.   Even now as we are able to be physically together in worship, we are still able to reach out to those who cannot physically be here through live streaming technology.  It’s a blessing that we would not have realized IF we hadn’t gone through the pandemic.  


As a member of the choir, I can attest that we have been through some very difficult transitions.  We’ve abruptly and sometimes painfully gone through several music directors over the last decade.  There were goodbyes that went unsaid and situations that made us uncomfortable. We were unable to sing and when we were, rehearsing was difficult.  Several choir members moved away; some died.  Yet we weathered the storm and got through the difficulties together.  While we are currently a very small group, under the direction of the talented and enthusiastic C.A., we sing with renewed spirit.  C is a gift to the choir, to the congregation and to the community at large.  He truly embodies the message that ALL are welcome here. A message that I think comes through every time we sing.   Under his guidance, we have entered a new “season” and we are laughing and learning anew.


As Christians we are about to enter a new season.  We will be concluding the season of Easter (yes, Easter isn’t just a day, but a whole season) with Pentecost next Sunday.  So don’t forget to wear your red.  And then we move into “ordinary time.”  


However for this congregation, there is nothing “ordinary” about our future.  We will be working with an interim minister who will guide us. She said in our May/June newsletter:  "my role will be to preach, teach, and offer pastoral support just as any minister would. In addition, though, I have some other work to do. My calling is to help the congregations I serve “take time to reflect (what was), correct (change what isn’t working), protect (maintain what is working), and resurrect (revitalize the ministry). My role at is not to be a place holder until the “real” minister arrives. My role is to help bring meaning and energy to this in-between time, allowing ample time for discernment, all the while articulating a sense of identity as the people of God.”  


This is not ordinary; this is a time where we all have the opportunity to shape the future of our church.  This will be a time to listen, and to speak.  To remember our past and create our future.  To honor history and forge new paths.  It will be a time of challenges and emotions, of both highs and lows.   This can be an exciting time, if we let it allow ourselves to commit to this change of season and embrace what God has in store for us.


We may be apprehensive as we enter this new season, but we can be assured that we do not go forward alone.  As it says in Galatians:  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  


We ARE a family of believers and we have weathered storms (both literally and figuratively) and also basked in the glow of  God’s grace.  I  know personally, I am both nervous about the future, but also excited about what it might hold.  The work that we will have to do will not be easy, but it will be fulfilling. 


During this time of transition, perhaps the following prayer, which many of you may know will help us with any anxiety we may experience as we continue down the path, guided by the Holy Spirit. “ God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; taking this world as it is and not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen. “   


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