Good morning friends! This week’s message is focused on the seasons of the year and also of life. You can listen to/watch it below. I’ve started the video at the scripture reading for you but you can always rewind it and watch the whole thing if you’d like. I’ve also just shared the transcript under the video, if you’d rather just read it.
Bless to Me
Seasons: Journeying Through the Year
I think many of us have a favorite season or maybe multiple seasons… but we usually can’t have one without the other and that goes for not only the seasons of nature but also for the seasons of life.
Would you please pray with me?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Spring is often a favorite of people. It’s a beautiful time of the year – watching the trees begin to bud, the seeds begin to break open and push their way through the earth with green leaves and stems. The birds make their way back to the area and their song fills the air once again. We find nests in the trees and bushes and eventually eggs and sometimes, if we are lucky enough, we even get to see them hatch!
But… as the trees bud, and the flower start to bloom… so do my allergies. So, we could say with the beauty of spring… also comes some ugliness.
As we have seasons in nature, we also have seasons of the church. Spring brings us Easter! And the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It’s one of the most important days in the Christian calendar. It reminds us that just as in the seasons of nature, life follows death. Death is not forever! Death does not win. It is merely a time of rest followed by a time of new beginnings.
I’ve often noticed that at funerals, there is often a pregnant family member, a new born baby or very young children. They too remind us that life continues.
As a kid, I loved summer! I mean who doesn’t! It means schools out! No more homework, no more getting up early! It meant family vacations to the beach or the mountains! It meant time for rest and reading. It meant Vacation Bible School! Whether as a participant or as a helper and eventually teacher.
Summer often includes mission work too. Sometimes it’s working in our local community or going on trips to areas in need.
Summer gives us the opportunity to love our neighbors and live out our calling as Christ followers through VBS and missions. It gives us the opportunity to serve others. Now, of course we have this opportunity every day of, but during the summer we tend to take time off with the cycle of the school year and so it’s a great time for these opportunities.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Maybe it’s partly because it’s when my birthday is but I really think it’s the cooling temperatures and changing colors. It’s usually when we start to get back to our ‘school year’ routines. For our family and when the kids were younger, it meant evenings out around the fire bowl in the backyard, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. It meant visits from my parents and just lots of family time! It means Halloween and dressing up! Decorating the house and TURKEY! And lots of thanksgiving.
At church it used to mean getting back to Sunday school, maybe even a new class, receiving Bibles, and youth group would be more regular. Choirs that took off in the summer start meeting up again. We take time in the fall to remember those saints who have gone on before us and to give thanks for them as we prepare for the season of Advent.
Now, I love winter too, yes, it probably has some to do with my favorite holiday, Christmas!! But it also has to do with the snow, the cold, the fires in the fireplace, comfort food, and yeah, CHRISTMAS!!
In the church we take 4 weeks to prepare for the birth of Christ, through the season of advent. We get to sing some of our favorite hymns, put up decorations, we find ourselves filled with hope for what is to come.
We often find ourselves in the midst of missions again. Serving those in need during these cold times… donating hats, scarves and mittens. Many of us participate with angel trees so we can help children and their families during these cold dark days so that they too can experience the wonders of Christmas. We want to offer the hope we experience through Advent and Christmas.
And then just as we feel like winter will never end… new life is buried too deep under the snow… we begin to witness little signs of hope and spring as we begin another time of preparation, this time in the season of Lent. Lent ushers in the spring through darks day of remembrance as we are once again reminded that death does not have the final word.
The seasons of nature and the church are very much like the seasons of life. Spring – new life, birth, grows into Summer – and more growth, fun, adventures into Autumn – slowing down, sitting back and watching preparing for Winter – and those quiet days looking back on all that we’ve done with our lives and looking forward into the future of our children.
Each season, plays it’s part in life and each and every season is a true gift from God… even the teenage years – ours and our kids … a gift to be cherished and shared. We were never meant to go through life alone, we really are in it together. We can lean on one another, help one another, cheer each other on, cry together, work together. We were created to be in community with one another. I know that seems really hard right now, especially since we aren’t meeting in our church buildings but we can make do and do our best by calling each other, sending notes to one another, joining in our Zoom fellowship times! I’ll be honest, these virtual meetings have been really amazing. I honestly feel that some of us have really grown closer and gotten to know each other in ways we probably wouldn’t have before. So, we can continue to be in community even in times of pandemic, we just have to be a little more creative in this season we are going through. But remember it is only a season. This too shall end but we have great opportunities in this season… opportunities to help those in need, those less fortunate than us. We have opportunities to grow, spiritually and mentally. Opportunities to pause and slow down enough to see what is really important in life.
As the book of Ecclesiastics says, “There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens… Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work.”
Some seasons are harder than others but each season is gift and offers opportunities for us to experience God in new and meaningful ways. Amen.