There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
As a child of the sixties, I immediately recognize the passage from Ecclesiastes as the inspiration behind “Turn, turn, turn” by The Byrds. At the time I was a member of the church youth club and our leader helped us become a worship team. We went to small churches in many of the villages around Sheffield and took their, mostly, evening service. We also tried our ideas out in our local church, Abbeydale Congregational. We used some very advanced ideas for the day – having discussions instead of sermons. My part in this was not to speak but to sing as part of a group; Peter, Paul and Mary had nothing on us. I now realise how kind, tolerant, patient and encouraging our “victims” were. They accepted and encouraged us, no matter how annoying we may have been and gave us a chance to grow in our faith. I hope that we have the same graciousness with our young people and indeed let them have their “time to speak.”
You know us in all the seasons of our lives,
in good times and bad,
in times of growth and stagnation.
Give us the wisdom to recognise
that things will change for us
but the one constant in our lives is You
and Your never-changing love for us.
Chris Eddowes is an Elder, lay preacher and coordinator of the Training for Life and Service programme in the Northern Synod.
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