Turn, Turn, Turn

Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and it lives there for days. Every time I read Ecclesiastes 3, I hear a folk rock song that was released in 1965 by a band called the Byrds. It was called Turn, Turn, Turn and I bet many people were surprised to learn that it comes directly from scripture.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.

Now you can have this song stuck in your head, too!

The timeless wisdom of this passage is meaningful in every circumstance of life. Births, deaths, graduations, weddings, wars, and occasional pandemics are all seasons we can experience in a lifetime. The writer reminds us that with every season, God has a purpose:

Ecclesiastes 3 (Common English Bible)

There’s a season for everything
    and a time for every matter under the heavens:
    a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
    a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
    a time for killing and a time for healing,
    a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
    a time for crying and a time for laughing,
    a time for mourning and a time for dancing,

This is incredibly helpful to remember when you are in a season of sorrow. A friend who recently lost her mother describes it as “sorrow sitting with joy.” If you have experienced the death of a loved one, you know the terrible disorientation that falls over you. When my mother-in-law died, I remember thinking that it was just stupid that she was not in the world with us anymore. It made no sense. It was a big mistake and we just needed it to be fixed. But in time, mourning faded as dancing with happy memories took over. Eventually our season of crying turned into a season of joy when we welcomed her first great-grandchild into our family. A daughter became a mother, a mother became a Nana, a sister became an aunt, and suddenly God restored balance.

    a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
    a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
    a time for searching and a time for losing,
    a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
    a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
    a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
    a time for loving and a time for hating,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

We get out of balance when we forget that everything has a purpose under the heavens. Your life was designed for something meaningful and long-lasting. What will your legacy be? Do you live according to God’s purpose? Or have you lost your way and somehow wandered into a meandering, pointlessness existence?

When I have gone through seasons of wandering, I have found it helpful to immerse myself in daily scripture reading and prayer until I found my way home. The Psalms are especially helpful for wilderness walking and if you read one a day, you’ll have 150 chances to discover yourself again.

Whatever season you are in right now, turn, turn, turn back to your purpose. No season lasts forever, but God has a call on your life in every season. Turn around and listen, and God will remind you.

A Time for Laughing by Bonnie Bennett

Curves Ahead

This was originally published in December of 2019. Who knew that just around the corner was a PANDEMIC?? But take a look at this wonderful scripture. It sings today just as strongly as it did a year ago….and just as strongly as it did 2,000 years ago. Enjoy!

I live on an island off an island off a peninsula. My commute to work requires me to travel over two bridges and drive on an incredibly curvy road for three miles. At one point the road curved around a small Methodist church that was large enough to block your view as you drove around it, which resulted in several accidents. The DOT finally came along and straightened out the road after centuries of curviness. As we traverse Colington Road, we all have to be alert to what is just around the corner. It might be a political sign, a muddy rut, or even a chicken. Turning each corner is a challenge of staying alert.

As we say goodbye to an old year and welcome a new one, we have an opportunity to “turn the corner,” offering us a time to reflect on the trajectory we’ve been on and possibly change direction. It is not uncommon to see people back in the gym (regular gym-goers hate January with its crowded classes and busy weight rooms!), starting new diets, pledging to be more thoughtful and intentional, and otherwise making changes that promise to turn the corner on some aspect of their lives that needs fixing.

You know, Jesus was all about the turning-the-corner-life. God sent him to get humanity out of the muddy rut it had fallen into, and offers us a way out through belief in him:

Acts 3 (The Message)

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’

The act of turning toward God and having him wipe away your sins results in God pouring out showers of blessing to REFRESH you. In all the ways we will seek a refreshing this new year, this soul-refreshing is the most significant. And we need to be alert to what is just around the corner. If we meet heartache, illness, betrayal, despair, or even death there, we had better be prepared with God at our side.

Want to lose weight? Take off the heavy burden of sin.

Want to get fit? Exercise your belief.

Want to be more intentional and thoughtful? Immerse yourself in scripture.

Ready to turn the corner? Give your new year over to God and see what HE will do with it.

The showers of blessing that come from turning toward God are peace, hope, joy, and contentment. Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful 2020? (Or 2021?)

Colington UMC on curvy Colington Road

Turning the Corner

I live on an island off an island off an island. My commute to work requires me to travel over two bridges and drive on an incredibly curvy road for three miles. At one point the road curved around a small Methodist church that was large enough to block your view as you drove around it, causing several accidents. The DOT finally came along and straightened out the road after centuries of curviness. As we traverse Colington Road, we all have to be alert to what is just around the corner. It might be a political sign, a muddy rut, or even a chicken. Turning each corner is a challenge of staying alert.

As we say goodbye to an old year and welcome a new one, we have an opportunity to “turn the corner,” offering us a time to reflect on the trajectory we’ve been on and possibly change direction. It is not uncommon to see people back in the gym, (regular gym-goers hate January with its crowded classes and busy weight rooms!) starting new diets, pledging to be more thoughtful and intentional, and otherwise making changes that promise to turn the corner on some aspect of their lives that needs fixing.

You know, Jesus was all about the turning-the-corner-life. God sent him to get us out of the muddy rut humanity was in, and offers us a way out through belief in him:

Acts 3 (The Message)

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’

The act of turning toward God and having him wipe away your sins results in God pouring out showers of blessing to REFRESH you. In all the ways we will seek a refreshing this new year, this soul-refreshing is the most significant. And we need to be alert to what is just around the corner. If we meet heartache, illness, betrayal, despair, or even death there, we had better be prepared with God at our side.

Want to lose weight? Take off the heavy burden of sin. Want to get fit? Exercise your belief. Want to be more intentional and thoughtful? Immerse yourself in scripture. Ready to turn the corner? Give your new year over to God and see what HE will do with it.

The showers of blessing that come from turning toward God are peace, hope, joy, and contentment. Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful 2020?

Colington UMC on curvy Colington Road