We invite you to view a recording of this week's message – There is a Time for Everything.
In this time of unprecedented change, isolation is a new challenge for us as a St Andrew’s College community. The Chaplaincy Team have put in place weekly reflective prayer, podcasts and messages online to support those who would like continued support during this period of lockdown. The material has been designed and produced to minister to our immediate and wider community. Grace and Peace to you all during this time of change.
Assistant Chaplain, Jo Morrow
There is a Time for Everything.
We are living in a time of unprecedented change and having to respond to the conditions of human life in insolation. This is new – and difficult – for almost all of us who live busy lives, full of work, travel schedules and leisure pursuits addicted to pleasure, sport and hobbies. It’s all new. Suddenly, everything has slowed, if not stopped.
The seasons of time teach us what it is to be fully human. The book of Ecclesiastes is an Old Testament text known as ‘wisdom literature’, and we read a reminder that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. For many of us the present time will be tense and challenging and as we get a grip on our new way of living, it is important to emphasise that God has not authored this time of endurance, but in fact, God seeks to walk humbly with us through our time of trial and pain. Isolation is foreign to us because we are hard-wired to live in relationship.
It will take time for a knowing response as we wrestle with the challenges that require a greater level of patience and time for insight, and allow this challenge to draw out in us a new self and one that will mould and change us.
Being fully human will involve feeling disappointment, frustration and anxiety. These emotions are all part of the human experience and our response in this time is important, not only for our own mindset but for those around us. To be honest with each other as we struggle and allow others to walk the real journey alongside us, could be our biggest challenge. It is so in our media-driven reality to embrace fame, fortune and success which are supported and reinforced by messaging and tantalising images. We are led by images that are created for us to follow and when these are stripped away, our sense of self and identity can become fragile and vulnerable. While this may be true for our current status, we need to be gentle and allow ourselves to reach out and embrace what is real and true. A slower reality, perhaps; one that the present crisis will enable us to discover if we are prepared to let it. The writer of Ecclesiastes (Solomon) was in every way ‘successful’: he had money, power, women, fame and wisdom. And yet in old age he considered all these things temporary and ultimately meaningless. He also grappled with the concept of time and concluded every activity has its time, but time passes. He understood that a truly good life is one lived in relationship to the God of time. Only that profound truth can bring a peace to surpass our own understanding.
As we move through this time may we trust what it is to be fully human and that the divine can walk humbly and peacefully with us through our experiences and bring out in us a new self that knows a strength to go beyond what we thought was possible.