Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh



I haven't much been in the mood to write recently. Well, this isn't exactly true. I've been in the mood to write... I've had much in my head I've wanted to toss out onto this blank canvas of a screen... but every time I sit to write, the words fail me.

However, one of my resolutions was to write a sermon at least once a week. And so, I reread the readings from church today. I thought about the sermon that was given. I read the reading from "Christ in our Home" for today (which of course was the same as the church reading)... and read ahead for the next three days. All this managed to do was get the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" stuck in my head (ergo the title and picture for this post). So, as I cannot come up with a good sermon, or sermon topic, all I can do for this week's sermon is to write from the heart (in other words, this isn't so much a sermon as just a bit of rambling).

A week ago, the pastor of our church had his last service with us, and a few days later left our little town. For about 6 weeks we'd known this would happen... had time to prepare for it. But when it actually happened, it was obvious that no one was truly prepared. Today's church service, there was a sense of something missing... a sense of loss and confusion and disjointedness. No one sang. No one seemed too 'with it'. If I had to make assumptions, I'd say that most everyone was very uncertain... uncertain if we could make it as a little church, uncertain if they wanted to be there, uncertain what our purpose was, uncertain what the next steps should be.

The sermon was ok. It was well written (even though slightly long...[he put me to shame with lengthy ramblings]), and it was delivered acceptably. But as will most likely be the case for some time, it was almost audible the fact that this sermon and its delivery were being compared to those heard the past 2 years. I even caught myself doing this, although I've only been attending this church for a few months.

He did ask one good question... "If Jesus were in this congregation, and asked what you needed, how would you answer?" (slightly paraphrased as I can't fully remember how it went). That got me thinking. But unfortunately, I spent most of the sermon evaluating that question, and therefore remember very little of the rest of the sermon (the last 25 minutes of it).

Ecclesiastes 3 seems to be rather fitting though for what our church is going through, and what it has gone through. There is a time for everything. Sadly for our congregation, it was time for our pastor to move on...it was a time to lose. At the moment, we are in a time of weeping and mourning still because of that loss. Because this person we have lost is one who helped us build up, helped us embrace each other and this church, helped bring us to a time of love and peace and understanding amongst each other. And now, it's a sad time, a time of uncertainty, a time of worry.

But, this is how it is in all our lives.We hold on to loved ones, only to eventually have to face the need to let go of these relationships. We lose people to death; we watch loved ones bring home babies. We see times of war and peace (including little 'wars' with our loved ones). We have emotional breakdowns, only to later be built back up, hopefully stronger than before.

But, there is a purpose to everything that happens. We may not see it now, or understand what that purpose is. But there is one. And just as there is a time to weep and a time to mourn, there will eventually also be a time to laugh, and a time to dance.

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There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 from The Message) 

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Dear Lord,

Thank you for being with me in times of joy and times of sorrow; for the birth of loved ones, and for the time to know and love those who now reside with you. Thank you for standing beside me though I doubted your presence, and for sending someone to help my spirit heal. Thank you for the tears I've cried, tears which helped heal my heart and soul; and for the laughter and joy I have been able to experience. Thank you for giving me the courage to trust and allow love in; and thank you for standing beside me when hate and anger have entered my heart and mind, and for helping me to dispel those demons. Thank you for continually giving me the strength to face all the good and bad times I've encountered. Please continue to be with me through these times.

In your name, I pray
Amen.

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