July 30, 2017
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Sermon: "Seasons of Love"
There are many commentaries on this Ecclesiastes passage. But I have a favorite: it’s a song from the musical RENT, called “Seasons of Love.” Now, I’m no Susan Rush, so you really don’t want to hear my attempt at Broadway. I will leave it to the professionals, and just let you enjoy their commentary on Ecclesiastes yourselves, from the opening scene of the movie version of RENT:
How do you measure a year in the life? Or how do you measure 5 years and 7 months of life together in ministry at Cameron Presbyterian Church? I’d like to do that now.
Here’s how I measure it:
I measure it in Earl jokes.
I measure it in “mighty, mighty elder” chants led by Cathy.
I measure it in Italy stories told by Clinton in waiting rooms while Kay faced a procedure with her usual nonchalant bravery.
I measure it in neighborly chats about world travels, during rainstorms on Linda and Dave’s front porch.
I measure it in walks in the park with Juanita, and in her wise, prophetic words.
I measure it in sing-alongs with Jane on the way back from presbytery meetings
I measure it in Millie and Martha’s powerful Sunday School lessons.
I measure it in movies and Valenti’s pizza with Taylor, Traci, Karen and Alex, and I measure it in Bronson and Brandon’s e.p.i.c. Christmas sweaters.
I measure it in deep conversations (and conversations about Bread Cat) with Sarah.
I measure it in daily visits with Joe McKay and Beau when I first arrived.
I measure it in Natalie’s plays, and in Ashley’s smile.
I measure it in Phyllis’ amazing laugh.
I measure it in serving Alan communion for the first time, and in Marilyn’s Jazzy pictures.
I measure it in dancing with Claire at the cantata.
I measure it in Mack’s stories, that were just getting started when he paused for breath.
I measure it in Corinne’s knitting, and in Carlisle’s incredible love for her.
I measure it in Mexican food lunches with Billie, and in Bob’s children’s sermon interruptions.
I measure it in a little turquoise Fiesta ware mug Laura gave me, and in Mike’s big bear hugs.
I measure it in scones and coffee with Jim and Sandy.
I measure it in Easton’s baptism, and in Leon’s incredible memory.
I measure it in Marcene’s enthusiasm, and in the deeply spiritual look on Bill’s face when he sings.
I measure it in Andrey’s Indy 500 style driving on mission trips.
I measure it in Shan cleaning the wound of a man affected by homelessness, without blinking an eye.
I measure it in Ed’s inner Baptist preacher, and in Dine Times with Lynda.
I measure it in relaxation yoga with Jane, Linda, Cheryl, Sandy and Sarah Hilmer on Mondays.
I measure it in lunch at Lady Bedford’s with Louise.
I measure it in the gift of a massive coffee mug from Tony and Ginger.
I measure it in stories about war with Jim Kelly, and in Kay Kelly’s incredible dog whisperer skills.
I measure it in thoughtful cards from Phil and Patsy, and their steadfast support.
I measure it in Art’s deep faith, and in Doris’ resilience.
I measure it in Bruce and Joe’s patient willingness to do anything, even hang a wild Pentecost mobile from the center speaker.
I measure it in Larry’s songs, and in Christie’s graceful ability to really listen.
I measure it in Peggy’s hugs, and the way she says, “Thank you, Jesus” each time she takes communion.
I measure it in Marty’s sermon comments that always manage to pick out the *most* Presbyterian thing I said, and in Cheryl saving my bacon (pun intended) in chimes more times that I can count.
I measure it in Terry Kerr’s incredible energy, and in Judy’s passion for justice and equity.
I measure it in Karol Boyd’s clever grin, and in Dale’s smiling eyes.
I measure it in PW Bible studies in Carol Thomas’ and Laura Younts’ living rooms.
I measure it in Walt’s fearless chiming, and in Pat’s loving listening.
I measure it in deep biblical discussions about Revelation with Julie, and I measure it in Andy’s impressive array of Hawaiian shirts.
I measure it in Temple theater shows with Pete and Marilyn, and in Patrick’s basketball games with Dwayne and Debbie.
I measure it in Sharon Shaw’s infinitely patient emails, and in Sharon Bettini’s prayerful heart.
I measure it in Tom’s “Whatcha say, Whitney?” greetings, and in Dawn’s “Need anything, Rev.?” knocks on my door.
I measure it in Tommy’s passing-of-the-peace hugs, accompanied by, “Hey, buddy!”
I measure it in Barbara’s music, and in cups of coffee with Butch.
I measure it in Rick’s ever-amusing ties.
I measure it in Kathy Oldham’s ever-deepening search for God.
I measure it in Audrey’s smile, and in Joe Nelson’s flirtations.
I measure it in Mark’s head nods as we chat.
I measure it in cups of tea at Rose’s, Summer’s solos, and in Colton and Matthew giggling at each other through the whole service.
I measure it in Doris Jean’s “Hey” every time I see her, and in Hayes’ sneaky, witty humor.
I measure it in Dick’s White Castle burgers, and in Norma’s hospitality.
I measure it in Gene’s Garrison Keillor-esque liturgist voice, and in Lois’ mission focus for our community.
I measure it in s’mores and cornhole, while listening to Backporch Music, with Terry and Tonya.
I measure it in delicious Costco meals with Marco and Polo (otherwise known as Rex and Dot).
I measure it in prayers with Doris.
I measure it in Jim Cameron’s love for Westerns, and in discussions about old movies with Kay McKay.
I measure it in discussions about my dangerous driving with mean Dean from Aberdeen, and in Debbie’s laugh.
I measure it in Susan Rush’s mismatched earrings and perfectly matched talent.
I measure it in Star Wars theme songs being snuck into the offertory by Mary, and in her general magical humor and musical gifts.
I measure it in saying goodbye (for now) to beloved family on sunny afternoons in the Cameron Church Cemetery; and I measure it in saying hello to newly married Brenda and Nick, who grinned like teenagers when I pronounced them hitched last Saturday.
I measure it in bread broken and shared (and yes, that includes hushpuppies from the street fair).
I measure this season of our life together in all these ways and more. I measure it in the love I have for y’all, a love that will not go away.
Today, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all the ways you have blessed me, and for the privilege of inviting me to be your pastor. And mostly, I want to say ‘thank you’ to God, for calling me to a tiny place I’d never heard of, that has become the biggest place there is.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Thanks be to God for this season of ministry together, for the good we’ve done, for the life we’ve lived, and for the love that binds us together for all time. Amen.