…There is a Season

Posted: January 18, 2014 in From Me To You, Theology
Tags: , , , , ,

Yin Yang Feathers 2This posting has been delayed by a few things — not the least of which being my honeymoon and an interview for a worship position in Arkansas — but it is still worth the time spent. That said…

Being the new year, that human tendency to reflect on the recent past has been nagging at me as of late, dragging along its partner of worry over the future to bother me a bit more. This past year has seen many new things for me. I stood in my oldest brother’s wedding, I completed my undergrad work, I myself got married, I went to Florida for the first time, I shoveled my own parking space in a hotel parking lot and looked forward to the temperature climbing to 13 degrees, and I watched from Facebook as a teenage girl from my home church finally succumbed to cancer after fighting for several years and having previously declared clean.

I recently watched Forest Gump again and noted its use of the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything there is a Season)” (written by Pete Seeger and made famous by the Byrds). The main idea of the song is that there is a season in life for everything, whether good or bad. Seeger drew the lyrics from the King James Version of Ecclesiastes 3, taking the exact wording for a large portion of the song (read the full song lyrics here). Gump experienced exactly what this passage and the song communicate — there is a black and a white to life; there is pleasant and unpleasant; there is a time for extreme opposites of all sorts.

The truth contained in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is one often missed by Christians. The stereotypical picture of the historical Church is that of a stiff organization, believing in a judgmental God. At the same time, the stereotypical picture of the modern Church is that of a community fueled by Starbucks and striving to create for themselves a fuzzy, “NP!” sort of God. Both of these theological approaches may have existed in the past and may yet exist, but both nevertheless offer an improper view of God.

The same God who created the beauties of the Grand Canyon also allowed the Black Death to wreak havoc on Europe centuries ago. The same God who carried Israel through its captivity and into the Promised Land also supported that people group as they carried out multiple technical genocides in the Middle East of their time.

But the same God who judges His people for their sins also forgives the most heinous crimes. The same God who lets a young girl struggle through cancer and finally die in pain also allows two families to join together in joy at the prospect of new ministry opportunities and the small lives that may be birthed from that relationship in the coming years.

So let us not find ourselves running to the comfort and familiarity of cold tradition and a judgmental God, nor should we hand ourselves over to the social niceties that often act as facades for a proverbially emasculated god and declining moral standards labelled progress. Instead, let us find that firm middle ground. Let us look to see both extremes of the same God manifested in our communities. When someone asks why God is the way He is, let us not make excuses or make ourselves seem better than we are but rather acknowledge the mystery that is our God: “I AM WHO I AM.”

We will never understand all the mysteries of God, and we should never worry about that. But perhaps we Western-minded Christians can take a valuable lesson from the Eastern spiritualists: “To everything there is a balance.” Or as our Middle-Eastern forefathers put it, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

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