Last week I was on a directed, silent retreat at Richmond Hill in Richmond, VA. It is a lovely center located in the city of Richmond with lovely views that overlook the city. It is an intentional community with a ministry of being in continuous prayer for the City of Richmond. It is a wonderful place for retreat and I highly recommend it.
While on the retreat my director recommended I reflect on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - For everything there is a season. I am at a turning of the seasons in my life. I have just left my position at my Unitarian Universalist congregation and I am reflecting a great deal on the question of vocation. A season of my life has just ended and I am now in a time of planting and waiting.
As I was reflecting on this passage, I realized that no where in the passage is there a season or time for anxiety or worry. We are told there are seasons for things that many of us might not include - like killing, tearing, war and even hate - but no worry. Wow - hate, war, killing make the list but worry is out!
For me it was a call for trust - to trust that wherever we are in life, we are where we are meant to be. In addition, to trust that things will change, trust that it will not be this way forever - thank goodness!
This particular season I find myself in is filled with possibility and I have much hope and faith that I will find the right next place to live out my call. Yet I still struggle with anxiety and worry. I told my director that all those passages in Scripture that tell us not to worry, don't be afraid, in particular the one where Jesus tells us we should not worry about what we are to eat or drink or wear are not so easy to live. Yet over and over we are told, Don't Be Afraid, don't worry, do not be anxious - for I am with you. It is a message of abundance in a world that yells scarcity. It is a message to trust in a world that tells us that we are each on our own. It is a message of hope in a world that screams that hope is lost.
Over and over we are invited to "Be Not Afraid" that God is with us. Ecclesiastes tells us in its omission that there is no season for worry - that we are always called to trust. In this season of renewal, re-birth, this season of repentance and remembering - may we trust. Trust that we are part of something larger than ourselves, that we cannot see or know the whole, we can only see our part. May we trust that our part is integral and important, even if we cannot feel that right now. May we know deeply that we are not alone.
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