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Monday, June 24, 2013

Today’s Reading | Ecclesiastes 3:1−13

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. (NRSV)


These familiar words of everything in its own time and taking pleasure in the work God gives us to do remind me of something Frederick Buechner wrote in Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation:

“There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him.”

And because of that room to recognize or not, because of God’s presence in even the ordinary, God is present, Buechner reflects, “all the more fascinatingly . . . , all the more compellingly and hauntingly.”

“Listen to your life,” Buechner goes on to say. “See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”


Dear God, although I am able to sense the past and future, help me to know that there is nothing more compelling than to be present with each moment. Help me not to hurry through difficult times or linger in the pleasurable ones at the cost of seeing what you have given me to see. Help me to recognize the “business to be busy with” as it unfolds for me today. Amen.

Written by Barbara Cleveland, Executive Assistant

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