everything there is a season …a time to plant and a time to pluck up
what is planted." -Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 (-NRSV)
early the week following the Labour Day, we were driving east through
Quebec and northern New Brunswick. We were on our way back home to Nova
Scotia. It is a drive familiar to a great many people. Wendy and I have
made this trip a number of times. In fact, we made the trip at a more
leisurely pace, several weeks prior, during summer holidays. The beautiful
scenery of the St. Lawrence and northern New Brunswick was much the same
in September as it had been in July. However, those "low lying
areas" you hear about had already experienced frost. There were
subtle indications that the trees were turning color. One season was in
the early stages of giving birth to another. Not only that, but traffic
was much lighter than it had been in July. Clearly, the tourist season was
slowing down. The fall was hinting its impending arrival. Each season
brings change with its presentation. Yet the seasons themselves unfold
within the predictable pattern of nature. Pursuits, adventures and tasks
may vary from one season to another. However, the variations in our life
unfold within the action of the larger human drama.
Book of Ecclesiastes has preserved for us a well-loved poem, "For
everything a season … a time for every purpose under heaven".
At first glance it seems like common sense. There are good times and bad
times. There are Times to speak and times to keep silence, times to mourn
and times to dance. However, the ancient sage who preserved this poem for
us was well aware that the changing scenes of life must be understood
within the larger setting of God's love and purposes. The same writer who
praises a time for everything also writes; "I know that whatever
God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken
from it". (3:14).
people are attending, quite literally, to the demands of the season. It is
time to return to work, or to greet the first fall of retirement. It is
time to go back to school, or to have a child move off to work or study.
It is time to start a child in pre-school or Sunday school, or to begin
that new job. It is time to re-engage the activities of church, home,
office, and community. Many people are making challenging transitions at
this time. Some transitions may be filled with excitement. Some
transitions may engender feelings of anxiety. Indeed, as we are often
reminded, and perhaps feel, our whole world seems to changing ---sweeping
us along in the process.
may be engaging changes that the fall season brings to social activities.
We may be trying to engage the swirling turbulent world. We may be
entering a new season of life. As we contend with all of these, let's not
forget the nature of God's enduring and steadfast love. As we tackle the
changes and chances of this life, may the love of Christ, who describes
himself as the beginning and fulfillment of all things, sustain us.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis