If you've never heard The Byrds's Turn, Turn, Turn, click the link immediately and relive my youth. I just learned today that Pete Seeger wrote the song, but it's the Byrds version that lives in my head. It was in the collective consciousness in our adult Sunday school this morning as we took up the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. Yes, that old hippie pop song comes from the Bible.
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 keep silence, and a time to speak;...
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Some of Ecclesiastes sounds pretty grim-- "All is vanity, a chasing after the wind"-- but this section gets reassuring. God has everything worked out, even the things that hurt. And the book assures us that simple things like food and drink and the work we have to do are gifts from God, and we can enjoy them. On top of that, "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
We talked a little about youth as a time when human beings are beautiful. Being on the far side of youth, I thought about beauty in relationships. Then, as He often does, God gave me a little pat on the soul.
I sat down in the sanctuary a couple of rows behind one of the newer teenage girls. Soon, a girl who's been in the church all her life came over to say hello and give her a hug. You can be who you are in our church, and you'll be welcome and loved. Beautiful.
On the other side of the room, an eight-year-old girl was conversing earnestly with a young man in his twenties. She may have been showing him something from her Sunday school. After a minute, she threw her arms around his neck. They weren't brother and sister, but... yes, they were. Beautiful.
That list of "times" includes times to heal, to build up, to laugh, to dance, to embrace, to gain, to love, and, in the end, a time of peace. I know it's not too late.