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 time 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. God has made everything suitable for its time.
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a
I grew up on Oldies music. Which I’m now realizing is a term that likely changes every decade or so. But in my house if music was on, it was normally the Rolling Stones (my father’s favorite), Cher (my mother’s favorite), or something from the 50s, 60s, or 70s.
From a young age, I knew by heart the words to “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds. “To everything (turn, turn, turn), There is a season (turn, turn, turn), And a time to every purpose, under heaven. A time to gain, a time to lose, a time to rend, a time to sew, a time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” But it wasn’t until many years later that I realized that those words actually came from scripture.
The words from this song have been in my head a lot recently. Maybe it’s because the seasons are turning – as we’re still holding on to spring with our cool mornings before things heat up for the day. Or maybe it’s because we will soon be transitioning to a new season with the school year nearing its end and summer break approaching. Maybe its because we have a pastoral transition on the horizon this summer. Maybe it’s because we are in this interesting time where vaccines are rolling out and we can cautiously begin embracing again.
So many seasons are changing right now – but isn’t that the way of life. Some seasons in life are welcomed, while others aren’t. We may cherish the times of laughter, love, dancing, and peace. We tolerate the work of planting and plucking up what is planted, sewing, and gathering stones. But we often dread the mourning and the breaking down.
Each of us can identify with many of the words in this scripture passage. These words speak to the many and complex seasons of our lives. They are words that bind us by our common human experience. They are words that capture a truth that at times is hard to embrace. They are words that capture a truth that at times we eagerly await. They are words that perhaps frame much of the journey of human life.
They provide us with a wise reminder of the movement of the seasons of our lives. They are a reminder that we are each a part of something far bigger than the seasonal moment in which we find ourselves. So I pray, that whatever season you find yourself in, that it will bring you a sense of peace.
Grace and peace,