There Is a Time (MV165)
This Labour Day weekend for many of us marks the unofficial end to Summer. The telltale signs of a change in season are all around us. The mornings are chillier, it’s getting dark at 8 o’clock, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back.
But this summer had its own special qualities about it because of the presence of COVID and our desire to keep ourselves and those we care about healthy. We continued online Sunday services with you being at home or on the road. In July we saw the return of Elaine on piano and a guest vocalist each week to lead our singing, which is such an important and integral part of our life together. We had Pippin’s quiet four-legged presence and wagging tail grace our space and remind us that the Spirit really does move amongst us in mysterious and unpredictable ways. We stayed in our pj’s, drank our morning coffee, we prayed together in new ways and shared one another’s joys and struggles.
Now, it’s September… the month we have been waiting for to usher in some sort of change… a return to the building… to something that is familiar and we used to know… to being community in shared time and space. But the reality is we don’t know what the future holds with respect to the pandemic… despite all the experts and research and race for a vaccine, only the virus knows what the virus will do. And so we remain vigilant and cognizant of our space in relation to others. These principles are what we will adhere to when we make a slow and gradual return to the Church building pending approval. The ways Church will be different and the ways it will be the same will be communicated to all and we will take small steps to resuming life once again in this building. We are encouraged by the success of the Thrift Store’s reopening, and new protocols that are now in place that people have embraced. And before long, new things become familiar.
This week I found myself drawn to the poetry and wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes literally translated means a Gatherer of wisdom, wealth and pleasures. It was written during a time following the Israelites return from exile in Babylonia and the economic development of the ancient Near East. Much like today, the economy was volatile and there was widespread insecurity as people toiled to get ahead or simply gain some sense of control over their lives and thus understand what was happening in their world. The author of Ecclesiastes reminded me this week that there is a time and a season for everything… the ups and the downs of every human life… there is a time for birth and death, for planting and harvesting, for weeping and for dancing.
Life is change… time is an eternal gift of the Spirit and does not always turn in perfect ways. I experience God at the centre of that wheel that is continually moving and spurning me onward. Summer comes for what can seem like a fleeting moment and then it quietly slips away. These past months we have faced serious health issues and treatment plans; we have been separated from family and friends and had reunions albeit at a distance; we’ve made decisions about the place we want to call home and faced the daunting tasks of moving; we have seen baby birds leave the nest with the desire to fly on their own; we have kept a gathered community together, one who cares for one another through these virtual offerings and a lot of help from Zoom and Verena. It’s what a COVID Summer looked like… it is part of our Winfield United story.
Summer doesn’t last forever. In its ending is another beginning. And may we take time to celebrate this gift of God’s created-ness. But time waits for no one as they say, and the time has come to think about changing things up again…taking small steps back into places we left back in March… doing things in new ways and celebrating that we can adapt and change in the midst of this pandemic. We are most fortunate that our community has not been widely exposed to COVID and we must not take that gift for granted but continue our vigilance.
Enjoy these last dog days of summer… go to the beach one more time, make a big fruit salad with your harvest from our orchards… pick the last of your flowers before they start to fade… take that bike ride or hike you’ve been putting off all summer… Maybe this seasonal ending is one last Invention of Summer… the beginning of Fall.
Amen and Amen