“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: ————
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, “ [Ecclesiastes 3 : v1 +5]
This was one of the Bible Readings at the Welcome Service on Thursday evening in St. Mungo’s. the Preacher, Rev. Louise McClements expanded that thought to a vision of each one of us gathering things in our lives as we would gather stones, stuffing them into our pockets until they were full.
It led me to think that In our time in this life that is what we do, we gather abstract things such as experiences and memories and attachments to a place or a time and stuff them into our consciousness and our memory banks. We also gather prejudices, bad experiences, a dislike of a person or something or somewhere because once in the past we had a difficult time. We store them up and sometimes even forget why we have that prejudice or dislike or hatred. They are like the stones that sit far in the corner of the packets that have never seen the light of day for a long time.
It is maybe then time to scatter them, as the writer of Ecclesiastes advises, the time to hunt out old misgivings or ill-feelings or old prejudices and have a good look at them in the light of day. We may find that what has bothered us in the past is not worth bothering about any more, and it is time to let these things go.
We also gather happy memories and experiences, and these are wonderful things to keep. The good times we did not fully appreciate at the time and just like the shell from the sea-shore of a happy holiday we keep them as treasures of the heart. Storing them up as we go along, the memories allowing us to feel good on a difficult day.
We gather spiritual memories of times in the Sanctuary, singing the favourite hymn, hearing a prayer or a sermon that speaks directly to the core of our being. The fellowship and warmth of being part of God’s Family coming together, the beauty and peace of the Sanctuary. All these are worth hanging on to. Yet we must beware of holding on to, “what has aye been” and be able to embrace the future of the church.
Many will have to let go of what they know as church, the Presbyteries in Scotland are in the process of change where new boundaries are drawn. Some churches will find that they will have to Link with others because there are not enough ministers to go round. There will be a time of letting go of the familiar and a need for the acceptance of what we can do.
Before we get too despondent, remember that God is in charge throughout all the changes and reconstruction that is going on. He directs us and He can redeem every situation, I leave you with verse 14.
“ 14 I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. “
Thanks be to God.
LET US PRAY
We know that there is a time for all things, and we thank you for the time we have with You, in our Prayers, in our Devotions, in all the experiences we have in Your Presence and in Your Sanctuary. We know that everything on earth, especially Your church is in Your Hands and that Your Timing is not our Timing. We place our trust in You and ask that You guide us through this time with Your unerring Love and Care.
We ask in Jesus Name.
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