"To everything there is a season."
This is the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3:1 and the first words of the song: “Turn, Turn, Turn” by Pete Seeger. And while we are still in the season of summer with its heat, long days, and vacations, we are reminded that fall is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter. School is back in session for some. And Friday night football is back this month.
One thing that is also back, is preparation for Charge Conference! This is the season in our church where we look back at the past year to see where we have come from and take a look to the future to see where we are going. Mostly, during the year, we are just looking to the present with no thought of past or future, so this time gives us a much-needed perspective. Of course, we do all this in prayer.
While I love the different seasons of the year and its various activities and holidays that come with them, it is the seasons of the church that I find prodding me along in life…giving me a path to walk on with God. For instance, in this time of year, we call Ordinary Time or the Season after Pentecost, we look at how we can walk closer to God. We take a season to hear the parables of Jesus once again and maybe even discern parables in our own lives: stories of times when we have learned more about God and God’s Kingdom. We will transition to the next big season, Advent, at the end of November. (It also starts a new church year)
One of the things I have learned to do as a Christian and as a Pastor, is to take time to listen to God’s voice, especially when I look ahead to the new season. I want to be led into each season by God’s hand. In order to do this, I take time away from noise and distractions to a quiet place and pray, walk, and listen with God. I’m amazed at how God answers and directs if only we give time to God. It’s time beyond Sunday morning or 30-minute devotionals. It’s immersion in God’s time.
As I continue to learn more about Grace UMC and each of you, I’m also reminded that it’s time to prep for Charge Conference. And as I’m doing the Charge Conference prep, I’m reminded that it’s time to set myself apart and be with God to prepare for the next church seasons of Advent and Christmas. I’ll be doing this the last week of August. (Aug 30-Sept 3).
Why not try your own retreat? Immerse yourself in God’s time for a couple of days or if time is valuable, one day works. Any time is good. Just make sure it is a distraction free time! I find having access to outdoors helps me talk to God. Then I listen. Take a blank notebook with you in case you want to journal or write notes. Take your Bible. And take your watch off!
You’re on God’s time. Allow God to lead you to where God wants you to be. If you like having a set agenda or need ideas to follow to help move the day along, see me! I have ideas. We can come up with something suitable for you that also allows God to lead.
Yes, everything has its season. God knows the plans and purposes for each of the seasons. Why not tune in to God’s plans and make them ours as well?!?
Blessings to each of our youth as they head back to school. May you know that God goes with you. And we all support you! Blessings to Grace UMC as we follow God’s will and plans for us in the seasons ahead. And blessings to each of you as God guides you in the rest of this season and into the new church year ahead.