Posted by Pastor Stuart

I remember how lovely the weather was back in May. Spring was in full swing as the flowers bloomed and the grass grew. It would’ve been nice if the weather stayed that perfect forever, but we know that it doesn’t. The grueling heat of summer is now upon us. I start sweating just thinking about it.

But there are a lot of great things to be excited about this summer. After all, it’s most kids’ favorite season: no homework! And in the life our church, we’ve had wonderful thinks to celebrate: graduations, Vacation Bible School, Youth Camp, and more. Despite how hot it is, we’re having a great summer. I’ve enjoyed sweating through all those fun activities.

What’s silly is that, in the height of summer, I always think, “This is unbearable! I’m sweating my face off. Will this heat ever go away?!” But then, of course, during the deepest cold of winter: “This is unbearable! I’m freezing my toes off. Will this cold ever go away?!” I tend to focus just on the day today, and how uncomfortable I feel. I often forget the bigger picture: the seasons are always changing. Even if we feel stuck in the season we’re in now, the painful heat or the numbing cold won’t last forever; the seasons are always changing. These days of summer camps, vacations, and visiting family remind us of that.

There’s a great Bible passage about the changing of life’s seasons, in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

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.

So what kind of season are you in these days? What kind of season is our church in? A time of summer fun, but also a time of sadness over loss. Since the last church newsletter was sent out in March, we have lost two big lives in our church family: Elsie Tharrington and Louis Smith. Those losses affected us. They left gaping holes in our daily routines, in the plans we had made, and in what we thought the next season would be like. We thought they would be in it. So this is “a time to weep” and “a time to mourn,” even though not long ago with Elsie and Louis it was “a time to laugh” and “a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us the big truth about life: that seasons change. Even though we might be in a season of grief now, it does not last forever. We have hope that the next season will be joyful, just as last year’s season was joyful: we had some super cute babies born in our church last year. Those were times “to be born” and “to embrace.” We are so so thankful for them and their smiles and their moms and their families. We look forward to the next cute baby to be born this year.

We recognize those big events. We hug each other during the joyful times—of laughing, mending, healing, planting, and birth. And we hug each other during the sad times—of weeping, mourning, tearing, scattering, and death. I am thankful for all the hugs that our church family gives.

Yes, the seasons will change. But no matter what season you are in now or you’ll be in next, what won’t change is that you will be hugged and loved by your church family, and you will be held and loved by God.

Grace and peace,
Stuart


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