Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bread for the Journey

Joyce Sasse

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven…”

The leader reflected on this passage from Ecclesiastes at the conclusion of her time with a group of teenage campers.  During the week she had been inviting them to explore, in a variety of ways, how they could express their understanding of what the surrounding mountains, sky, water and flora meant to them.  It was so appropriate that she now used the words of “The Preacher” (as the Hebrews called him). The Book of Ecclesiastes is a collection of wise insights The Preacher had gathered through a lifetime of experience. This Wise One shared his thoughts with young men embarking on their own life-journey.

The rhythm of life, as he described it, is like a pendulum swinging back and forth: “the time to plant” swings over to “the time to harvest”, “hate” swings to “love” … But with each swing, we can also imagine the spiral circles on a screw. With each experience, we dig deeper into a more complete understanding of what lies at the heart of life.

This guidance is as rich a gift as any mentor can impart in these days when we are repeatedly confronted by the extremes of the swinging pendulum – from violence to compassion, for ignorance to exhilaration. It is as we live through these times and seek to broaden our understanding that we look deeper into the heart of God. Like Bread for the Journey, we find ourselves nourished and nurtured.

The Preacher concludes “Don’t let life be a burden. God has given us the right time for everything – even though our understanding is incomplete. Be happy. Do the best you can while you are still alive. And trust yourselves into the hands of God.”

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