For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a tie to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
This morning I went for an early morning (for me at least it was early) walk, and took delight in the chilly fall air. I saw a few trees whose leaves seemed to be seriously considering turning to bright red or yellow or orange. Autumn must surely be on its way, I thought. This is my favorite season (well except for the other three. Generally, my favorite is whatever season it is). My neighbors are beginning to put chrysanthemums and pumpkins on their porches and in their yards, and Halloweeny figures dot the streets. The turning of the seasons is one of God’s wonderful gifts to us.
Besides the lovely sign of the coming of shorter, cooler days, my neighborhood is also dotted with political signs and flags, and it reminds me that we are also in a political season. A friend told me that she had lost one of her very dear friends over who each was going to vote for. How sad. We are also still in a season of pandemic where masks hide smiles and we are reluctant to enter any crowded place lest we either catch the virus or give it to someone else. We do not know quite how we are going to celebrate the holiday season from thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year. Schools open, and schools close. People still catch the virus. Some have few symptoms and are soon back in the swing of things. Others get sicker and sicker and die. Makes no sense to me. There are times I just want to cry out, “Enough! Make it stop, Lord!” But however much I may wish it otherwise, I cannot tell God what to do. God does not answer to me, but I to God. I cannot understand the ways of God, only I know that they are not always the ways of we human beings.
The Teacher, for whom Ecclesiastes takes its name, goes on to say, in verse 11, “He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Although he believes there must be an appropriate time for everything, he also firmly believes that mere human beings are not privy to this information. Ours, the Teacher goes on to tell us, is not to try to pry these secrets from the Almighty, but to live and enjoy each day, be happy, and enjoy their lives. Maybe that is what I ought to keep in mind on these lovely days with bright yellow sunshine, yellow leaves, and yellow butterflies.
Immortal, Invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above,
thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
May we walk in peace and fellowship on the earth that God has given us
With our sisters and brothers who dwell here with us. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser