Whenever I read these words, I immediately want to add the words Turn! Turn! Turn! made popular by The Byrds. I did a bit of research on the song and found that Pete Seeger actually wrote this a protest song and in defiance to his editor who told him he couldn’t sell those protest songs. Seeger took the words directly from Ecclesiastes, added turn, turn, turn as a chorus of sorts and a last line, “A time of peace: I swear it’s not too late.” It was another protest song, but his editor didn’t get it. He wrote back, “Wonderful, just what I’d hoped for.”
It is very interesting that when different people hear the same words, they can often have very different interpretations. In this instance, one intended protest where another saw hope. In reading through some commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes I found that many scholars feel that the writer(s) of the book had many shifts in mood or feeling making it extremely difficult to study and understand. I am reminded of listening to a lecture class and then getting together with a group to study, each of us hearing the exact same words but our notes bore a very different story. Without each of the study group members interpretations, we may have never been able to cover everything included on the test.
So my thoughts come to this: If I was required to take a test on life itself, how much would I have missed out on causing me to preform poorly on the test? Was I not open to interpretation, both intended and implied? Was I just not paying attention? Was my focus elsewhere making me miss something important?
The word turn is an appropriate word to use in both the song and in our daily outlook on life. It expresses the reality of an ever changing, or turning, world. In this ever changing world there is certainly a time and season for everything under the heavens. I am grateful that as these seasons continually change, I am given a new opportunity to experience and see all of the wonder, the emotion, the various interpretations of each season of life. Some of these seasons are difficult, some are filled with joy, but in each season we are able to see the hand of God when our focus is directed on him.
Today we begin a new year, a new season, a new hope for the future. Though we have to remember to use a different number on our calendar, this day is not so different from every other day. We always have the opportunity for a new season, a new beginning. What does God want you to see, to feel, and to learn in this season of life? What new opportunities has God placed before you that you may have missed before? What are others experiencing and how can you help each other to a more full meaning? Let us open ourselves to these changing seasons that God has given us and live them to the fullness God intended.
Tommi Hamilton, Launch Team