“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 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, 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,” says Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
The writer of Ecclesiastes is trying to find meaning to life and observes the different seasons of our lives. The year 2020 is a different season than we have been used to and it is a season that seems to include a time of tearing down, weeping, mourning, scattering and even refraining from embracing.
It is the fall season here in Juneau, and we are seeing a decrease in temperature, the changing and falling of the leaves and the early stages of nature entering dormancy as it prepares for winter. The animals are finding it to be a time for storing up for the winter season. Gardens are being harvested depicting the end of the summer growing season. I am about down to finishing up my last mowing of the yard before putting the lawn mower away and getting out the snowblower. Seasons come and seasons go.
You could take a “cup is half empty” look at the seasons of our lives and find things to complain about. There are numerous things to complain about the seasons of our lives we are going through with the pandemic, the political turmoil and the injustices our country is dealing with in many places. We can take a negative look at the season we are currently in, or we can see it in the light that this is an opportunity to do good, to show kindness, to make positive changes, to make our corner of the world better, to show how resilient we are as a people.
I have been thinking about the year 2017 here in Juneau that was proclaimed as “The Year of Kindness.” It was a great year where you saw kindness becoming contagious throughout the community. People were doing things for one another to make each other’s lives a little better, a little easier. In the early weeks of the pandemic we saw kindness come out in people checking on their neighbors and helping the elderly. We saw people being considerate of others who were most vulnerable to the deadly effects of the coronavirus. We saw much appreciation given for those on the “front lines” of the pandemic, like store clerks, health care workers, etc.
Somewhere along the line things changed, seasons changed, not always for the better. We don’t like the season we are in right now. But this is now a time for the season to change, for a season of kindness to re-emerge. It is time for planting and healing, a time for building and a time for mending, a time for peace. This is a time for “making lemonade out of lemons” as the old saying goes. Rather than seeing the cup half empty, let us see the cup as half full and look at the good things and the positive things about the season we are in. Could it be the lord is doing something good in the midst of all this? Could it be that God has something good for us to do to show His love to the world? May I challenge our community of Juneau to revisit the Year of Kindness and make the rest of 2020 and 2021 another Season of Kindness that we might heal the hurt and the pain and the divisions of our country. May we come together that we all might stand together.
God calls us to this instruction how to live in times of turmoil.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” says Colossians 3:12-15. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
• Dan Wiese is pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.