Tuesday 27th September 2020

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

… including writing email devotionals, and that time is now coming to an end. Yes, you may have noticed in the Newsflash that I’m stopping these weekly meditations after my holiday.

There was a time when they didn’t exist; then there was a time when our weekly worship services were replaced first by these devotionals and then also recorded sermons. Now we’re back to a more regular pattern of live services, prayer meetings and Bible study groups – so it feels like the season of writing weekly Thoughts has come to a natural end.

The writer of Ecclesiastes is right: our lives on earth are shifting and everchanging, unlike God who (as I pointed out on Sunday) is eternal, permanent and unchanging. And we can’t predict what change will happen next – a year ago, who knew that churches would be obliged to cancel worship services for several months (many haven’t even restarted yet)?!

This is of course a very good reason for not leaning on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and instead casting all our anxieties on Jesus who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). I agree that this is often easier said than done, but we have the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and he will help us grow in our faith and trust inasmuch as we ask him for help to do just that.

Because we need it – especially in the light of the next verse in Ecclesiastes:

a time to be born and a time to die

a truth which we are all very aware of but which our society is unwilling to acknowledge. Even now, the Prime Minister is talking about “beating” the virus, which of course is virtually impossible – with the exception of smallpox, humanity hasn’t actually managed to beat any disease, and I don’t expect COVID will prove any easier than any others.

And even if we miraculously managed to beat COVID, there is still a time to die. Only one person has managed to beat death, the rest of us are still mortal – but because Jesus came here and defeated human mortality by dying as a human being, we can share in his victory – which means we will eventually beat both COVID and dementia and osteoporosis and polio and bad tempers and greed and lust and fear and pollution and selfishness…

Jesus has defeated everything that destroys God’s good creation, and invites us to join his Kingdom where sin and death and suffering will be gone forever. Whatever happens in the world today, whatever our politicians do or don’t do, let’s not forget that only the Kingdom of God lasts forever!

Here’s a nice song I hadn’t heard before, using the whole There is a time… passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUl8AAR3Bps

And here’s a reminder to seek God’s Kingdom before everything else: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LMQfOp9w8k



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