September 27th 2020

Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 & 14

As most of you will be aware, “What a wonderful world” was first released in the States in 1967, made famous by the singer, Louis Armstrong. It is a song of hope and thanksgiving, a song that warms our hearts and a smile to our face. But at the time the song was released there were many in America who would argue that the world was far from being a wonderful place. The Vietnam War was in its twelfth year with still no end in sight, and the summer months were beset by riots in various parts of the country, in the main racially motivated. Some might argue that things haven’t changed all that much.

The world is still in a state of turmoil. The widespread and far reaching tendrils of COVID-19 has had a devastating affect upon all nations of the world, not just the poorest. But those already struggling in the midst of wars, those striving to make ends meet, laid low by poverty and disease, face an even greater uphill journey. For them, and us, hope seems like a distant and far off dream.

And yet, as the words of the song remind us, the world is still a wonderful place. We see that wonder in the renewal of creation where human contact has been limited by lockdown. We see it in our communities as neighbour looks out for neighbour in ways that haven’t been evident for a very long time. The compassion and love shared amongst us has been almost palpable. This too is surely a wonderful thing.

For me however, one of the most amazing experiences of these past six months has been how God has been at work in and through each one of us. Although the main doors of the Church have been closed, the business of the church has been going full tilt. Technology has been our friend, be it via Facebook, the website, Zoom or WhatsApp, our fellowship has been strengthened and, in my opinion, refreshed. COVID has forced us to work beyond our comfort zones. We have had to develop new skills, we’ve had to adapt to new ways of doing things, and although change is never easy, we’ve done it, because we’ve had to.

Our world is a wonderful place because God is in it and continues to work in and through us, and sometimes, in spite of us.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us about the seasons of life. Listen to his words for a moment.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Eccl. 3:1-8 NIV)

Perhaps we could add a few more. “For everything there is a season…”

a time to reflect and a time to review,

a time to pause and a time to start moving,

a time to hope and a time to serve.

Feel free to add to the list.

In the midst of all that has changed and continues to change the one thing that remains constant is God and his love for us in Jesus. It is indeed a wonderful world we live in for Christ’s love shines through, even in the darkest of days. For this, we give thanks.

Please click on the link to listen to “What a wonderful world” sung by Louis Armstrong.

What a wonderful world