Friday, July 27, 2018
Ecclesiastes take three
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
1. a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
2. a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3. a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
4. a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
5. a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
6. a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
7. a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
The first set of couplets talks about being born and dying ~ planting and plucking up.
On the surface we know this is true. We have held both a new born baby and the hand of someone we love who is nearing the end of this life. We have planted a seed in a Dixie cup, watched it grow and perhaps gone to an orchard or blueberry patch to pluck the ripe fruit right from the vine. We experience and encounter both.
Columnist David Brooks writes about the differences between our résumé values verses our eulogy values. In our résumé we use active verbs...in our eulogy we use softer verbs. In my résumé I, "engaged the church in a successful transition; lead the change; organized; engaged; united." I was the hero of the narrative. Yet, I am more than my job. When I pass from this life into the next, I don't think those are the words people will offer at my funeral. I hope they will use words like, "love, care, respect, nurture." The difference is interesting to note. Why is it that we spend our whole life focused on one set of verbs that in the end don't really define or distinguish us? Why do we spend our whole life achieving, when in the end what really matters isn't our title or letter before/after our name? Chronos time says, "The early bird gets the worm...get yours while the getting is good...money doesn't sleep." Kairos time asks, "How much energy are you pouring into family and friends...did you laugh today...did you hold someone else's hand?" Notice the differences? And more importantly, do you hear the truth?
This post will be released on a day of vacation for me. Vacations are kairos time. To be sure, there is the chronos reality of being to the airport to catch our plane and the possibility that it could be delay. Kairos is not only set apart, but the sacred woven into every second, even sitting at the airport waiting out a delay!
The wisdom writer says that there will be significant moments of life and death. I paired this with the image of creation ~ planting and plucking ~ because every day some part of creation is cut off so we can life. I pluck the tomato from my garden for a delicious BLT. I wash the earth/dirt off the carrot to enjoy. The food is no longer connected to a life source, but becomes my life source. I know we don't usually think/talk this way. But by pairing this couplet together helps us share and shine a light.
I encourage you to say a prayer for infants ~ ones you know in your family and friends; prayers for children waiting to be reunited with families on the border; prayers for children who are hungry; children going back to school soon; children on vacation. Pray for those who are approaching the end of this life ~ those who are part of the great cloud of witness. Pray for creation, God's handiwork and the ways God's goodness nourishes and nurtures our life. Let this prayer guide you today and in the days to come.
I pray this helps open you to the traces of God's grace in your life.