Looking up at trees in fall

I recently saw a picture of the fall foliage in the state of Maine. Of course, the colors were vivid and bright. Every color of the rainbow is seen in those leaves.

Maine’s fall foliage is a major tourist attraction. There are websites that predict the best times to visit various locations to capture nature at its fullest.

During my military career, I was stationed in Brunswick, Maine. While I longed for warmer climates, I knew that the state of Maine has four unique and distinguished seasons.

Winters start earlier than they do in South Carolina and last longer. One of the local radio stations offered a contest every year that allowed listeners to predict the date that the total accumulative snowfall would be more than 100 inches. That date usually occurred in January or February.

There were times I thought winter would never end. Some winters seemed to have lasted for years. Of course, that was not the case. Every year, winter was followed by spring. Spring was followed by summer and so on. No matter how severe or long a winter might be, it was only one season, and I could count on the fact that another season would follow.

The Bible uses the seasons of nature to remind us that our current situation will not last forever. The book of Ecclesiastes provides a long list of seasons that might come and go in our lives. Chapter 3 reads:

“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.”

Pete Seeger used this passage to write a folk song, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn,” in the 1950s. The Byrds recorded the song in the 1960s and it became an international hit.

The Bible, the fall leaves of Maine, Pete Seeger and the Byrds all serve to remind us that our current situation is transient. For the past few years, we have experienced a pandemic, an international war, a bear stock market, nearly double-digit inflation, and some strange politics.

Sometimes it feels like those long winters in Maine.

But the truth is, a new season is coming. There will be a day that we will talk about our current situation in the past tense. We will speak about where we were and what we experienced with pride.

We can count on the fact that a new season is coming.

The Rev. Dr. Jon R. Black is senior pastor at Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church in Bluffton.