A Time for Everything

       One of my favorite Bible verses comes from the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes.  It is attributed to King Solomon.  It was made famous by the Sixty’s rock band The Byrds, my second favorite band next to The Beatles. The passage I have in mind is from the third chapter, verses 1 through 8.  Here Solomon writes,
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

          We have been moving through a very unique time.  Few would disagree with this statement. We’ve been spending time shuttering and social distancing. To say it’s been frustrating is an understatement. It has been frustrating, difficult, and isolating among many other things. Thankfully, it appears we may be reaching the end.

          I wonder what most people will do with this experience, though. Will they be changed by it? Has it made them think more deeply? Have they now come to see things with a new set of lenses? Have they found themselves evaluating what is truly important and re-calibrating their priorities? Have they carefully considered the lessons this crisis teaches. Or, will they just kind of pick up where they left off before they ever heard the name Covid-19, or Wuhan? 

          If the cataclysmic events of 9/11 are any indicator, unfortunately – for most people, I’d have to answer this question negatively. No! Oh, it may make a short-term impact, but long-term change is questionable. In the days following 9/11 many pastors expressed personal hope that our country might experience a spiritual awakening and that revival would be observed throughout the land.  While researchers detected a measurable uptick in church attendance for two weeks after the Trade Towers fell, church attendance and participation quickly settled back to “normal.” Sadly, it’s slid well past “normal” for worship attendance across the board is 20% less today than it was two decades ago. In our denomination it’s actually 30% less!

          Still, I pray that God will not let this trial go to waste. Nevertheless, I’m praying daily that it will have a positive spiritual impact on this generation. I hope that some will come to understand that there is much more to life than moving through one experience to the next and one crisis to another, one outbreak to another outbreak. Life is truly meaningless as well as monotonous, even hopeless if we view it this way. This is its pattern. This was how Solomon saw it, at least.  He said it is “vanity” and a “chasing after the wind.” It troubled his mind. This is life apart from God. 

          Yet, Solomon invites us to life with God. In the last chapter of this book of wisdom he challenge us, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come.  . . . Remember Him – before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who give it.” Remember! Remember!  How though? How are we to remember?  It must be more than some mental nod. Solomon says it comes down to this: “Lovingly reverence and honor God.  And do what He says (follow His holy ways.)” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)  

In Him,

Pastor Paul