A Time For Everything
I don’t mind telling you that it’s been a rough week in Lucy Land. But I happened to stumble across an old playlist on my laptop - a throwback to the days before You Tube and Spotify – which lifted my spirits somewhat. My music taste is firmly stuck in the past, with some artists whose legacy has become surprisingly niche, so find your way to You Tube and have a listen to Turn, Turn, Turn by The Seekers.
The lyrics are taken from Ecclesiastes 3:
3There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What struck me about this was the acknowledgement that some seasons are harder than others, and that’s just how it is. It’s inevitable. In fact, I love that this section of the Bible does not tell us to not bother mourning, not to worry, not to weep... It doesn’t tell us to discount these feelings and the hard times, when society often tells us to bury things, don’t think about them, pull ourselves together and “move on”. It’s not a self-help book, which tells you that there’s a fundamental problem with you and your outlook, and promises to “fix” you. The freedom of this passage is that there’s nothing to fix! It comes with a feeling that the author is with you, and understands that life takes us along a wobbly, winding path. But when we veer off-course, the love of God makes us land on soft heather. Sometimes we can’t quite pull ourselves out of it immediately - sometimes we need others on the road to give us a hand, but we will return to the easier path eventually.
How comforting that in despair, we can be sure the season will pass! But that when we are mourning, it is right that we take that time to grieve. Equally, it is right that we be discerning and assess whether we are taking the right course of action – is it time to scatter or gather, search or give up? Everything has its time, and its place. Jesus himself built his church on Earth, but also turned over the tables in the temple – both creation and destruction, but at the right times. He wept when he was told that Lazarus was dead, even though he already knew that he was going to raise him back to life (John 11), but also went to celebrate a wedding (John 2). There truly was a season for everything in his lifetime, as there is in ours.
What season are you in right now? Is it time to keep or throw away? Be silent or speak? Whichever it is, be assured of God’s love and consistency through it all, and may you hear clear direction from him today as you spend time with him in prayer.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very important - this is the last week to book in for our weekend away!
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 2:1-52
This section on the birth of Christ has three sections:
1. Jesus’ birth (vv. 1–20)
2. His presentation in the temple (vv. 21–40)
3. His presence as a boy in the temple (vv. 41–52)
Let's discuss together:
What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?
What would you say was the common theme and aim in Luke telling these three accounts?
What are the various applications that one could make to this passage?
Jesus, in vv. 41-52, reveals His desire to be in His Father's house in order to learn and pray. How do you or could imitate Jesus in this?
SIV - What do the Shepherds do in vv. 16-20 and what does this teach us about evangelism?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?