“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 throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-5
We moved from the Buffalo area to Naples in June 2016. I do not miss the 90-100 inch annual average snowfall, but I do miss the change of seasons. I remember especially the glorious colors of autumn leaves and the myriad shades of green when tree leaves burst forth in the spring. Naples has its own seasons. In the span of a week, it feels like we have gone from the near drought of the dry season to the predictable storms of the rainy season. The changing weather patterns loosely align with the migration of the “snow birds,” those who live in SWFL during the winter and in disparate places in the north during the summer. Many of them are beloved members and friends of Naples UCC! (We’re grateful that being the virtual church allows us to connect with one another, no matter where any of us live.)
The familiar words of Ecclesiastes 3 remind us that there are many different kinds of seasons; that is the nature and rhythm of life itself. It is helpful to me to think of “the pandemic” as a season in our lives, individually and together. It may be longer than we would like (perhaps I should say, it already is longer than we like), but it will pass.
The good news is that God is faithful in all seasons. God walks beside us when it’s snowy and when it’s sunny; when it’s dry and when it’s pouring; when life seems to be going along well, and when life feels like it’s been turned upside down. I hope you take comfort and gather strength, as I do, from one my favorite hymns, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Here are verse 2 and the refrain.
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing
For those who are weary:
Faithful God, We pray for all who are tired of dealing with the challenges of the present. Sometimes that is us. Remind us to rest. Renew our strength. Help us to trust your faithfulness in all seasons. Amen.