The correlation between change and Ecclesiastes is not an association I ever made. But then I’ve not considered the words in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes in any other than a superficial way:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The rhythm of the words is a poetic one. The text itself evocative and elicits a strange symmetry of paradox. Phrases like “a time to love and a time to hate,” and “a time of war and a time for peace,” are arresting and perplexing the more we consider them.
My friend Margaret moved to Austin from Houston last year and is looking for a church to call home. Riverbend came to her attention because it’s huge with many thousands of parishioners, including a famous actor. Riverbend Pastor Dr. David Haney makes clever use of social media by providing audio downloads of each Sunday’s sermons.
Margaret mentioned the church to me because she knows of my admiration for actor, Matthew McConaughey, one of Riverbend’s more well-known parishioners. He’s a good, maybe excellent actor but McConaughey impressed me even more with that acceptance speech for the Oscar he received for The Dallas Buyers Club. Less than five minutes long, it is worth your time to listen to because of the humility and raw honesty of his speech. I’ve listened to it a number of times and still enjoy his uniquely worded mission of ‘pursuit of a better version of myself’- one that will never be realized on this earth.
In a similar vein, Pastor Haney and Matthew McConaughey make a compelling case during a recently recorded ‘pastoral conversation’ about how the phrase, “…a time to gather stones and a time to scatter them,” applies to the changes we face in life. The need to open ourselves to risk, vulnerability, perhaps even failure and loss. Along with its opposite of pulling back into silence and solitude.
Although it’s long, I enjoyed the entire forty-five minutes-Haney’s respectful introduction of his famed parishioner, this casual yet instructive look at the application of these eleven words not just to the life of Matthew McConaughey, but to yours and mine. Even more timely now as we enter the second week of Advent. Enjoy.