1 There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
2 a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
3 a time for killing and a time for healing,
a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
4 a time for crying and a time for laughing,
a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
5 a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
6 a time for searching and a time for losing,
a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
7 a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
8 a time for loving and a time for hating,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from all their hard work? 10 I have observed the task that God has given human beings. 11 God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. 13 Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work. 14 I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent before him.
Happy New Year! By now the ball has dropped, loved ones have kissed, and horns have blown. Auld Lang Syne has been sung and the carollers have made their way home. We look around and may find ourselves thinking that another year has passed, so what’s next?
Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, speaks to this question. In verse 1 we hear, “There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven.” Granted, around the world, there is also violence and unrest, whether near or far. As verse 8 recognizes, there is “…a time for war and a time for peace.” We know there are hungry people and those in need of healing in so many places and spaces. Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew also reminds of Jesus’ words, “You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” (26:11)
Although I in no way wish to minimize suffering, in Christ’s words, I am reminded that people all around the world are pausing in thanksgiving and celebration to find their “time to dance,” despite heartache. Celebration can be part of our thanksgiving and our prayer life too, as long as we remember to pause with reverence.
So can we just press pause and give reverence for a while to enjoy the moment? Whether we pause in the midst of celebration, or in the quietness of the new day, there can be a certain peace that develops when we take this time. Our stillness gives way to the certainty in knowing God. Through this pause, God helps us find peaceful ways of knowing what’s next for us in the new year. Because despite the polarities of life, God is always with us.
Regardless of where we are today, let’s just tap our pause “buttons” to thank God for all He’s given.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Whether found through quietness or in action, how do you pause to reflect in celebration for all of God’s works? How do we pause as a congregation to reflect on God’s goodness? How does this reflection lead you toward 2020? Finally, what do you see as the next steps in the new year for Medford UMC?
Prayer: Lord God, in the celebration of the day, I pause to thank you for all that you have given. I pause to thank you for …. For 2019, I ask for your forgiveness for the ways in which I have fallen short. Please help me to remember to pause and notice your steps with me, so that I may know best how to serve you in 2020.