For the Byrds
This is one of those entries that separates the generations. If you are reading this and you were born in or before the 60’s you probably know what I’m referring to even by my title. If you were born in the 80’s and following, my spelling there needs an explanation. If you are someone who loves music of the decades recently past, regardless of your age, you’ve probably heard the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by Byrds. It’s a great song, primarily taken from the passage we are studying this week at church, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Pete Seeger wrote the song in the late 1950’s, but it was the Byrds who made it famous. The song became an international hit in late 1965. I was a year old at the time, but my dad had the album, and I fell in love with the song some 5 years later. The single entered the U.S. chart at number 80 on October 23, 1965 before reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965. Here is a LINK to hear it.
This particular passage that we're studying presents the Sovereignty of God over the seasons of our lives -- good, bad, and otherwise. There are several things we could say about the song as it comes straight out of the text. One of the things that made it popular in the 60’s was its cry for peace at the end of the song. That is certainly there, but something different strikes me in a predominant way.
I am challenged by a reminder, as well as a desire, to consider the seasons of life that my fellow church members are going through. Proverbs 25:20 captures my point this way: Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.
Confronted by our own selfishness, we tend to want others to keep up with our emotional pace. This passage reminds me that a change of seasons, personally as well as environmentally, is part of life. One of the best ways we can love another person is recognizing the particular season that he or she is going through. I think about the desperation of someone in a season of “seeking” and how I am often invited to help them search. Often, after a prolonged search, there is a time to “let go” of finding it. This is usually met with a season of disappointment and grief. Sometimes it is followed by the reception of a new thing, and we celebrate together the provision that has come in an unexpected way.
All of this ebbs and flows under the sun, for there is “a time” for every activity in this world. The challenge is to meet all the seasons of life with the same degree of confidence in our Sovereign God who reigns over our circumstances, as uncomfortable as they may be.
I pray you too find a fresh way to read these verses or hear that old song. We always seem to find ourselves in a place where we could sing it.