A time for everything

A time for everything


Summer, it seems, is the time on social media when people post photos of significant times of their lives. Weddings, ordinations, graduations to name but a few.  It brings a smile to my face to see friends surrounded by their family and friends marking important occasions.  

And I guess the summer is significant for me – 13 years in ordained ministry. 19 years married to Lee.   A University reunion after 20 years. Ellie reaching the end of her primary schooling. There is much to celebrate and important anniversaries to mark.


But I end up wondering whether the pressure is on to focus on the good times and to try to ignore the difficult.  Social media is a great platform for filtering out the less palatable things of life. But Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament reminds us that “there is a time for everything”. The writer goes on: “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4).

This is an acknowledgement that there will be times in life that are joyful and exciting, as well as times that cause us to grieve.  As well as marking joyful occasions there will be difficult and upsetting events and significant painful anniversaries.  Perhaps we mourn the death of a parent, a friend, a child.  Perhaps we have to mark the anniversary of the diagnosis of a devastating illness.  Perhaps we are living with the pain of a marriage break up. 


We are told in Ecclesiastes “God has made everything beautiful in his time” ( 3:11). I don't understand this to be meant in a trite or belittling way but that through our pain, our tears, our grief God is with us and will bring beauty out of brokenness.


My prayer for us all is that we may know God’s presence as we rejoice and celebrate as well as when we mourn, and that we might learn to see events at both ends of the spectrum as valuable.


Rev Em Coley

This article first appeared in the August 2017 edition of the St Leonard's Church parish magazine

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