Turn, Turn, Turn

by Rev. Yvonne Coon on July 07, 2022

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

Written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s, the song, Turn, Turn, Turn was recorded by
several artists with limited success. It wasn’t until the band, the Byrds, released their
version that the song became an international hit, reaching number one on the Billboard
Top 100 on December 4, 1965.

While the chorus is listed above, the verses are taken out of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The
scripture writer lists out 14 experiences coupled with their opposites – a time to be born
and time to die; a time to weep and time to laugh, and so forth. He argues that God “has
made everything suitable for its time.”

The author, Qoheleth, is a bit of an anomaly in our scriptures. Considered “wisdom”
literature, this book presents a very practical perspective on understanding life in the
context of our relationship with God. He recognized that the people of his day were
seeking fulfillment in their lives and grasping at all they could think to grasp hold of in
their efforts to find it – and try to keep it. He summarizes such pursuits this way: all is
vanity and a chasing after wind.

Once I get past having the song playing in my head and really stop to let the words
speak, to step back to consider the purpose of the book, I am absolutely struck by how
profound this author truly is in his thinking.

Consider our current circumstances. It is rare that one story stays as the top story for
longer than 24 hours. Ukraine, the Supreme Court, the January 6 hearing, inflation and
jobs reports, primary elections, COVID, the new Global Methodist Church, the stock
market. We have so much that we cannot control happening in our lives and in our
world. Naturally, we want to get our bearings, find some way to exert some modicum of
control over some aspect of our lives. We rely on ourselves and our logical reasoning
skills. And we are chasing after wind.

I am not suggesting that we are not called to stand up against injustice and oppression.
The recognition that there are times for various experiences does not mean we are
called to sit idly by and wait until a new time arises. It simply means that we are going to
face a wide range of experiences in our lives and fretting over them is not helpful.

As the author reminds us, God has made everything suitable for its time meaning God
has equipped us to live into those experiences together. We were not created to engage
with life on our own – no matter how independent we assume we are (or want to be).
There is a strong thread throughout our scriptures calling on the people to come
together, to be unified, to live in mutually interdependent ways.

When we join hands and stand together, we are strengthened for the times we face,
especially for seasons such as this one. Apart, or trusting in our own self-sufficiency, we
just end up chasing the wind. But together? Together we can move mountains.

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