A Time to Refrain from Embracing
For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 (KJV)
This passage offers comfort in times of change, especially in times of death because it affirms that change is part of God’s created order. As a child, I thought this passage was curious because it mentions, among other things, a time to refrain from embracing. When would there ever be such a time? But here we are, in a time to refrain from embracing. As hard as this is, and many other challenges of the Corona Season, there are some gifts in this season. The gift of creativity is abundantly around us. New people are being reached for God’s kingdom even as our skills and capacities are stretched, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Hopefully, we can take time to pause and rest.
This year, for the first time in a long time, rather than going to the garden center Memorial Day weekend to buy vegetables to plant in my garden, I decided, I am home, I have seeds, I will sow my own seeds. The bible is full of references to seeds and to sowing. When I pause these days between Zoom meetings for a drink or a short walk, I pass by my little peat pots of seeds.
I am filled with wonder, for often, even in the span of a few hours seeds stretch their stems and reach out toward the light. God is still present and when we pause, we can see the hand of God in the very smallest of things. We have heard that the Kingdom of God is like mustard seed (as small as a period). Yet the potentiality is magnificent. May we all take the time to pause to see the magnificent hand of God, for God still holds us even when we cannot physically hold one another.