Ecclesiastes says that life presents us with a series of contrasting moments (3:1, 2b-3) – “Moments of planting and moments of reaping; moments of killing and moments of healing; moments of demolition and moments of building.” Our challenge is to discern what is called for in each moment, time and season, and only “act when the time is ripe.” May God grant us the courage and the wisdom to fully live all the times and seasons of our lives.
This week we begin our series Living Fully All the Times and Seasons of Life, pondering the mysteries of birth and death which stand at beginning and the end of our physical lives here on earth. And not just our own, but everyone’s. While we may not remember our own birth, perhaps we have been there at the birth of a child or grandchild. I have been so blessed many times. Birth reminds us of the fragility and preciousness of life. As a pastor I have also accompanied many people through the process of dying, and friends and family through the experience of grieving their loved one who has died. Death is an experience that none of us escape, as Koheleth, the author of Ecclesiastes states again and again (Ecclesiastes 3:19-22; 7:1-4, 15; 9:1-10;). Denying the reality of death, he says, is absurd. But facing our mortality can lead us to live fully and value the moments of our life, especially moments of joy and love. May God grant us the wisdom to fully live all the times and seasons of our lives.
This coming Sunday I begin a new series of messages on Living Fully All the Times and Seasons of Life. Our main texts in the weeks to come will be from the beautiful poem found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, but on this first week we will look at the first three chapters of Ecclesiastes to provide an overview and context. May God grant us the wisdom to fully live all the times and seasons of our lives.
On this coming Labor Day weekend, I will be preaching on Psalm 8 which describes the creative work of God. In verses 2&3 the psalmist asks himself, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” His conclusion is that humans have been especially gifted by God, and have a special role to play in creation. May we be faithful and wise in our stewardship of God’s creation.
My message this coming Sunday will address the critical issue of the proper use of God’s amazing gift of speech. Our main scripture for this week, James 3:2-13, underscores how important it is that we control comes out of our mouths (and our keyboards). What we say and share on social media can be a source of healing and life, or division, conflict, and death. May God grant us wisdom in what we say and share.
This week’s scripture is one of the great psalms of the Bible, Psalm 90. It is a powerful meditation on human mortality meant to teach us live every moment of our lives, however long they may be, fully and wisely. You can listen to my message by clicking on this link – Counting Our Days
This week we conclude our study of Living a Transformed Life according to Romans 12 with the admonition to overcome evil with good. We are not to return evil for evil. We are not to seek personal vengeance. As Dr. King powerfully said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” May we shine light, show love, and do good.
This week our study of Living a Transformed Life brings us in Romans 12:16-18 to our calling to live peaceably with all, so far as it depends on us. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” May we be instruments of God’s peace.
This week our study of Living a Transformed Life brings us to the way that we connect with and support each other through Rejoicing and Weeping Together. This kind of emotional resonance or empathy is an essential characteristic of healthy relationships. May we who are members of the body of Christ, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
This week, our study of Living a Transformed Life according to Romans 12 brings us to one of the most challenging teachings of Jesus (see Matthew 5:43-48) and the apostle Paul. The circle of our love and concern which naturally begins with our families, and enlarges to include members of our church family, also was extended to offer hospitality and welcome to the stranger. But now we are told, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14). This does not come naturally to most of us, but it is the Way of Jesus. We will ponder again why and how we should bless our enemies.