Ecclesiastes 3, 1- 8, 10 -11
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace....
I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.
He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's
mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
We are living through strange and frightening times.
We are asked to sacrifice much for the common good and, as each day passes, certainties which a short while ago we took for granted are removed. We may not gather as the living stones of the church to worship, we may not embrace in the peace, there is silence in our places of worship and old memories of wartime are stirred.
These ancient, odd words from the Old Testament tell us that there is a rhythm and a beauty to God's creation and to human society, but that we cannot understand the pattern of things when we are in the middle of them. God has "put eternity into our minds" but we do not grasp the fullness of His ways.
Jesus became subject to time and the vagaries of the world. He was born and became Emmanuel - God with us. He suffered, died and rose again so that he can be present with us now and in eternity.
He is with us at this time when we have to face the challenges of distancing and isolating ourselves.
He is with each of us, closer than we can imagine.
Prayer - St Patrick's Breastplate
Christ be with me,
Christ be within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
(You can listen to a good recording of this here: