1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
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,
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.
9 What does the worker gain from his toil?
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I don’t think it is possible to live in this country without being aware of the seasons. The whole of creation cries out and we would find it hard not to hear. We are on the cusp of springtime and if you look carefully you can see snowdrops beginning to make an appearance and the days are once again starting to be longer.
But we don’t just have the four seasons through the year. We also can experience seasons in our life; seasons such as infancy, early childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and old age. There are seasons of love too. There really is “a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” as that reading so aptly puts it.
Thinking about seasons can be comforting in grief. We can look back, remember and celebrate the seasons of the life of the loved one we have lost. We can remember the first things…the spring times of their life experiences – the first time of meeting, the first date, the first holiday, the first child, the first grandchild – each if you like the beginning of a new season.
The time of passing away of our loved one will seem like a time to weep and a time to mourn…and it is at these times we must be reminded how that reading ends – that God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” We are so deeply aware of the wrongness of death precisely for this reason. We were not created for death but for eternal life in and through Jesus Christ. Trust God and lean not on your own understanding. May he bring you through your seasons of brokenness to a season of faith and hope in which you are surrounded by his love. Amen