3For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
There are many things in this world that give me comfort, but one of them is the passing of the seasons.
As the years go on, there are few constants. Every blistering, awful Texas summer gives way to the cool breezes of fall. Every bracing, depressing winter gives way to the bright and hopeful spring. The cycle remains, and gives hope and joy to those who have eyes to see it.
So it goes with our culture. For instance, take movies. Summertime has become a time for big, brash, bold blockbusters. It all started with Jaws, and ever since, each summer’s movies get bigger and louder and more massive than the last, with new crops of sequels, prequels, and action films crowded together for attention. Some of these are fantastic action pieces, entertaining and excellent, and some are… well not so much.
Then, in the wintertime, we get a different crop of movies. Usually, winter movies are a mix of two major themes: holiday family films of varying quality…
And then the good stuff: Oscar fodder. The stuff saved for the end of the year that usually is of the better artistic quality. I tend to like these films, because they tend to treat the audience as a bit more intelligent and a bit more perceptive than others.
So it is with that part of culture. Then again, some seasons are longer than others. There are times of great prosperity in our world, when things seem to only get better and life is generally optimistic. Then there are your bad times. Your wars, your depressions, your recessions, your hard times.
Such is the way of seasons. I’m grateful for the cold, accurate, and somewhat pessimistic vision in Ecclesiastes. There are times when the message is a bit too bitter for me to take, and other times when it’s just the right amount of sobering to keep me in check. In times of joy, it can be a debbie downer. In times of turmoil, it reminds me that all this too shall pass.
The passage today is one of acceptance that life is made up of different seasons, of light and darkness, peace and war, feast and famine. Such is the nature of our wounded world. But this is but part of our scriptural heritage; ultimately, there is hope and light for us to look forward to.
Ecclesiastes is a good book for Lent. Lent may be a season of somewhat grim repute, but it looks forward to joy in Easter. For every thing, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. In this season, we repent, so that we might soon be able to rejoice.