“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: . ..”
The Byrds made the third chapter of Ecclesiastes famous in 1965 when Peter Seeger wrote the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. I added a link to the bottom of the page in case any of you former hippies out there want to listen to the song! As part of scripture, the book of Ecclesiastes falls into the category of Wisdom Literature. This writer of Ecclesiastes warns against human pride and speaks to the importance of divine mystery. After the first familiar verses of Chapter 3, we come to verse 11 and read, “God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover God has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” In other words, God gives us wisdom and at the same time, God remains cloaked in mystery. Humans, no matter how hard we try, do not understand the ways of God.
As we are coming to the close of three and a half months in quarantine and holding out hope that Phase IV (which will allow gatherings of up to fifty) is around the corner, we are running out of patience. We are all suffering in one way or another with pandemic fatigue, quarantine fatigue, facemask fatigue, social distancing fatigue, and Zoom meeting fatigue! We miss even our most annoying family members and office mates. We long for a real night out where they serve on plates and use silverware and we can eat without mosquitos or wind whipping away our napkins. For everything, there is a season . . .
We have moved through winter and spring almost without notice. Seasons changed while we lived inside and watched out a window. We have filled our gas tanks less frequently. My father watches outside his condo window as the crowds getting off the trains which usually number over 100, dwindle to an easily countable eight or nine. Hockey and basketball seasons gave way to baseball season without tournaments or champions. They all just stopped. A time for every matter under heaven . . . turn, turn, turn.
Still the earth turns and while pandemic season isn’t over, quarantine season is coming to a close. There will still be masks to wear and the art of social distancing to practice, but smaller groups will begin to gather. The July Session meeting may take place in person! Perhaps by Labor Day, if not sooner, we will resume the option of worshipping in our sanctuary. We will be filling up our gas tanks a little more frequently and perhaps be a little less skittish about going to the grocery store.
For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven – what we can remember is that even while we participate in the seasons and the times, we are not in control of them. They remain in God’s hands, as do each one of us. I trust that as time and seasons change, a vaccine and treatment for the Novel Coronavirus will be discovered, and this particular Covid season of life will end, although we will be forever changed by it. God, however, remains the same; faithful, loving, compassionate and mysterious.