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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
January 1, 2005

     Everything on earth
has its own time and its own season.
There is a time
for birth and death, planting and reaping,
for killing and healing, destroying and building,
for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing,
for throwing stones
and gathering stones, embracing and parting.
There is a time
for finding and losing, keeping and giving,
for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
There is also a time
for love and hate, for war and peace.

     What do we gain by all of our hard work? I have seen what difficult things God demands of us. God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future. I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life, because God's gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do. Everything God has done will last forever; nothing he does can ever be changed. God has done all this, so that we will worship him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (CEV*)

This is a traditional New Year's Day reading, with its focus on time and seasons. Perhaps it is also a good reading for this time in history, as the great natural disaster in Asia is so much in our hearts and minds. The author of Ecclesiastes is clearly in a search for meaning in a world in which there is much he does not understand. This is our human condition in all ages, so we can resonate with his search, his perplexity and his tentative reach for at least partial answers.

All sorts of things happen in this world, both in nature and in what humans do. The wonders of nature produce spectacular beauty, but these same natural forces sometimes produce great havoc among us. The free will God gives us to choose how we will behave results in people making all sorts of choices, so we see everything from inspiring acts of love and compassion to the horrors of war and exploitation.

May this be a time of healing, when we reach out with compassion to those suffering from the earthquakes and tsunami, and for many other reasons. May we accept that God is present amidst all that happens, and it is God's place not ours to understand everything. May we seek joy in the life God has given us. May our awe of the tremendous power in nature and in the power that humans wield inspire us to worship God, who created the universe and all of life.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2005 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Rockville, MD 20850-6168

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Document last modified on Saturday, 08-Jan-2005 19:56:49 EST