Minister’s Letter Summer 2016

Dear friends,

Our girls are counting down the days until the end of their school career (if career is the right term). Some other young people in the congregation are at the same stage – there is a lot resting on these exams.  Time passes much more quickly than you think it will.  None of us have all the time in the world.

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes writes about different times and seasons of life in chapter 3 of the book.  He says:

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance.

In between one season and another there is usually a period of transition or transitions.  The time in between birth and death is called ‘life’.  The ‘planting’ of the crop might happen in the spring time, while the ‘uprooting’ might occur at harvest. The transitions in between ‘planting’ and ‘uprooting’ could be considered growth, development and ripening.

We face transitions in life all of the time – suddenly you are 50 or 60 or 70 – it doesn’t happen over night but it creeps up on you.  But there are different stages in life that we might be more aware of; each of them comes with a different set of challenges.

Life’s transitions can be smoother if we have time to think and reflect before they happen; but we don’t have the foreknowledge of sudden events that catch us off guard.

So how should the Christian face periods of transition?  This will depend on the kind of transition that it is.  If it’s a natural transition, between one stage in life and the next or a progressive transition in our careers, then we should go forward with thanksgiving.  As we move forward from one stage to another, then we have the body of experience that we have gained from the previous situation. The perspective that we have should be more mature.

If it’s a transition that has been induced by loss, grief, divorce, unemployment, serious illness, then there may be different stages in the transition itself.  The person might go through a period of denial, followed by feelings of anger and at some point reach a point of acceptance of the situation. A person’s relationship with God can go in different directions during such periods of stress.  They might become hostile towards God, because they feel let down by him, or more positively they might turn to God for help and support.  People usually develop a clearer perception of life again, when they reach the point of acceptance.  When the Apostle Paul writes his second letter to Timothy – it is clear that he has accepted that his life might be coming to an end and so he is handing over the mantle of his leadership to Timothy.  He writes ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’ [4:7].

The transitions that we will face as a family, God willing, are positive ones.  These are part of the positive cycle of life; family growing up and developing.  Yet we will need full measures of God’s wisdom, patience and his guidance, as we adjust to a new phase in life.

May you know the Lord’s mercies over the summer months.

Your minister and friend,