there is a season
Remember that late 60’s hit from The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn?
“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…”
We usually think of that song as an anthem for peace in a time of war, but did you know that the lyrics to that song are actually based on scripture?
In Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, King Solomon reflects back on his life as the wealthiest and wisest king of all time, leading us through his thoughts and laments on the seasons of life and giving us a faith anthem of our own.
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 cast 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 cast 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.
As we listen to those lyrics, read those scripture verses, and reflect on our own lives, we can easily see that many things in life are indeed seasonal. The weather is one obvious example (although here in Texas, we only have 2 seasons: kinda-hot and boily-hot.) And because of the cyclical nature of the weather, other things like plants and fashion also change periodically. Even our relationships have a rhythm of sorts. When I read vs. 8, “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace,” I immediately think about the discontinuous nature of marriage (no, I’m serious. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.)
If we think about it, our faith has a tendency to fluctuate too. In fact, scripture uses a lot of literary language that compares our faith to the seasonal nature of nature, especially plants, trees, flowers, vines, etc…) So over the next several posts, I will be sharing my thoughts on many of these seasonal similies (although in the interest of full disclosure, I should issue the disclaimer that I am not one of those green-thumbed plant people that is known to be A Nurturer of Nature; I am more like A Killer of Cacti. However, after over a decade of trying to live out this faith thing and learning my lessons the hard way, I do fancy myself an expert on the natural –and man-made– seasons and struggles of faith.)
We will explore how we are to be ROOTED IN RELATIONSHIP with God through his son, Jesus. We will dig deep down into the truth about who Jesus is, what an intimate relationship with him looks like, and why this is not just the most important thing, it is the first thing, and quite possibly, the only thing. We will also talk about how we must be watered by the word, pruned through prayer, and fertilized through friendships so that we can grow strong and experience the abundant life and FREEDOM IN FAITH that God intended. And lastly, we will talk about the SEASON OF SERVANTHOOD, or the harvest season, when those deeply planted roots and carefully pruned branches finally begin to bear the fruit of purpose and service in our lives and communities.
But – ***spoiler alert*** – it all comes down to this, folks:
YOU WERE CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE AND RECONCILED WITH HIM THROUGH HIS SON FOR THE PURPOSE OF LOVING GOD AND LOVING OTHERS.
That simple statement is the foundational truth on which we will build as we explore our relationship with him, our freedom in him, and discover our true purpose under heaven.
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I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5