“To everything there is a season.” The verse from Ecclesiastes reminds us of something we already know, and easily forget. I was reminded of this, along with lots of you, by the passing of Pete Seeger. Though he was not the author of those words, he helped lots of people hear them. I grew up listening to him singing children’s songs, traditional folk music and anthems of social justice. It has been a gift to be reminded of that season in my life.
Our lives are experienced in and through many different kinds of seasons. There are the traditional four seasons, of course – no matter that our winter this year is warmer and drier than most people’s summers. There’s football season, about to come to an end on Sunday. (As far as I can tell there actually is no Lakers season this year.) There are the seasons of childhood, youth and early adulthood, of our working years, early and later retirement and beyond. Some of us are lucky to squeeze in a couple of extra seasons along the way. We try out new possibilities with our work. We respond to a call. We begin relationships with new friends we make along the way.
Sometimes the seasons are only visible to us in retrospect. As we look back, we see rhythms and patterns which were not apparent when we were going through them. But now we realize that things have changed. It’s a new season for us, even if we don’t know what to call it yet. If we’re lucky we’ll get to see this new one more clearly one day too.
I believe that God’s grace is like that. It comes to us in seasons. It isn’t the same every day. God’s love is steady. But we are not. Our needs and our hopes change. One day we have blinders on, just trying to get through what’s right in front of us. Another time we are more open to suggestion, to mystery and wonder. One day we’re overwhelmed with gratitude and joy for the gifts all around us. Another time we can’t see so clearly and wonder what’s gone wrong. Grace is present in all of these experiences. But it looks different because of where we are.
As we move through the coming days, let’s be open to what God is up to in this season. It will not be the same as the last. It may not be what we expected. But God is with us, inviting and encouraging us along the way. As another biblical writer reminds us, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” I think someone put that to music, too.
Grace and peace,