A Stable Faith by Rev. Shayna Appel
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
The writer of Ecclesiastes clearly had great faith. They seem to suggest that everything will happen in its own time and that we should all hop aboard that train because on that train there is time for every purpose under heaven.
How about a time to return to in-person worship? How about time to do all that is on our plates on any given day? How about the time, or the energy for that matter, to do what must be done to bend that long arc of history toward justice? I don’t seem to have any of that in my calendar! How about you?
On the other hand, what if there was a season for everything, and time for every purpose under heaven? And what if none of that was happening on our preferred timelines. Would we — could we — endure the shift to something more sustainable?
We have been under the cloud of this pandemic now for 17 months in some way, shape, or form. Spring looked hopeful, given the availability of a vaccine, but then hope seemed to crumble as the Delta variant of COVID-19 hit and cozied up to another chunk of our population. So here it is October and we are still wondering, “When will this end?”
That got me to wondering… What would it look like to engage this difficult time with faith? What if there were a season for everything, and a time for every matter under heaven, even if those seasons and times weren’t convenient for us? And what might happen if we simply centered ourselves in this time, such as it is, secure in the knowledge that this will eventually come to pass, as all things do?
Think about that for a minute. Better yet, make it your reality for a bit and notice how that feels in your body. Can you feel your heart relax some? Does your breathing become a bit deeper and a bit more satisfying?
A wise person once noted that it is easier to ride a horse in the direction it’s going. Bishop Ken Untener, writing about the Kin-dom of heaven, or what we UU’s call ‘Beloved Community’, said:
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is [Love’s] work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that
the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
So, relax beloveds. This damn pandemic is bollixing up all sorts of things, for us and for too many others. But it will not serve us to extend ourselves beyond what we can do. Like all things, it will come to pass, even if that doesn’t happen on our timeline — and I am pretty certain the current timeline isn’t something anyone would lay claim to!
We will get through this… and I pray we do that before too long!