Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Pete Seeger wrote the song in the late 1950’s. The Byrds made it their own in 1965. Like many people, I can’t remember the first time that I heard “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I can’t remember a time when that song didn’t sound oddly familiar.

Who would have thought, in the midst of the turbulent changes of those days, that a passage from a long ignored Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes, would have reappeared in our culture in the form of a folk rock song that rose to #1 on the Billboard music charts? Actually, anyone who has paid much attention through the years to the ways that biblical poetry inspires and encourages people. Especially when it is set to music with the kind of melody that gives birth to earworms.

As I’ve shared before, our daily readings come from a resource that we use in our congregation every Sunday, the Taking Faith Home bulletin insert. I don’t choose the verses. They just show up. I read them, process what I hear, and share my reaction to them with you. So, oddly and fittingly enough, these are our verses for today.

Also, without reading ahead, I talked about the book of Ecclesiastes yesterday with our confirmation families in our learning about the wisdom literature of the Old Testament.

Imagine that, Ecclesiastes showing up, unannounced, two days in a row in my life. What do I do with that…other than dealing with the earworm certain to follow me throughout this turbulent week?

My sense in reading Ecclesiastes is that the overall mood of the work is gloomy, cynical, and depressing. So these famous verses about time could be heard in two ways. We could read them and come away with a sad “nothing much matters, the more things change, the more they stay the same” or with an optimistic “the sun will come out tomorrow” vibe. Which will it be?

I very definitely have a preference in tomorrow’s election but I’ve already made that known. Even though I wanted to vote on the ACTUAL day, the convenience and short lines of early voting got me this year. My vote has been cast. I’ve made my choice. I’ve done my part.

As for the people who win their election to office? They will be my elected leaders. I will pray for them. I will pray for their safety, their wisdom, their judgment. I’ll pray that they not abuse their positions of power and that they never lose sight of what will be good for children, widows, orphans, and strangers. And I won’t be the only one praying such prayers. We pray for our governmental leaders every weekend in worship. We’re all in this together.

To everything there is a season. No matter who gets elected, Christ remains my king. And the sun will come out tomorrow.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, thank you for the opportunity to participate in the common life that we share with others. For the privilege of voting, for the privilege of supporting our common life through doing our part, paying our taxes, and practicing good citizenship, even when that means protesting what we believe to be wrong. Remind us, again and again, that you are always with us, through all the times that come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Ecclesiastes 3:1-8”

  1. Lynette Bartel Says:

    Thank you. Posting to FB.

  2. oma500 Says:

    The sun will come out tomorrow and I know who is in charge. And, of course we are all in this together. Thank you!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I understand how Ecclesiastes can be taken as gloomy and depressing, but to me it’s an expression of great relief. God is in charge, we are not, sooner we accept that the better off we are.

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