For everything there is a season

Published 1:10 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2016

We did it. Saturday, Allison East became Allison Vining. I gave her my last name and she gave me her heart.

The ceremony took place in Port Gibson at Warner-Tully YMCA Camp, and when we were asked which reading we would like, the answer was obvious.

At the close of each camp session, we read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, A Time for Everything. Saturday, Allison’s assistant director Jennifer Guerriero read the words that hold such special meaning to us.

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The following homily from our officiant, The Rev. Beth Palmer of Church of the Holy Trinity, truly spoke to us:

To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn … and a time to every purpose under heaven. Neither of you were alive when Pete Seeger wrote that song. Judging by their youthful appearance, I’m not certain that your parents were even alive when Seeger penned these words in the late 1950’s. Perhaps they were around when The Byrds recorded the song in 1965. The song debuted at No. 80 in October of that year and soared to the top of the pop charts by December. Turn, Turn, Turn, as it’s called, has the distinction of being the pop song with the oldest words ever written.

The lyrics first appeared in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. They may date from a time nearly 2,500 years ago, in the fifth century before the birth of Christ. Long credited to King Solomon of wisdom fame, modern scholars now question that attribution on account of some Persian words in the original manuscript. It seems that Solomon’s Persian was about as non-existent as mine.

Perhaps the Persian phrases are what attracted the two of you to the portion of chapter 3 that you’ve included as the scripture reading for your wedding today. “For everything there’s a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Since your first date just four years ago, you two have shared all sorts of time together: a time to study and a time to play; a time to travel, and a time to stay close to home; a time to ride horses, and a time to walk on your own two feet; a time to hang with friends and a time to get serious about work; a time for exploring life alone and a time for getting back together; a time for first dates, a time for engagement, and now a time for your wedding.

All too quickly this wedding time shall pass and you two will find yourselves in the time of marriage: times to embrace and times to refrain from embracing; times to speak and times to keep silent; times to dance and times to mourn; times to keep close and times to throw away. God willing, you will experience all sorts of times as you move through the years to come, wonderful times and challenging times; times you wish could last forever and times you’d rather forget about.

Whoever wrote this passage, Solomon or someone else, seems to have some messages wrapped in this poetry. He says there’s a time for everything, the good and the bad. Likely you two will experience some of both in your marriage. We all pray for more of the former and very little of the latter.

Remember that time marches on, stopping for no one, not even two love birds such as you. Cling to the good times. Keep taking photographs. Keep posting on Facebook. Not only does that help you both to savor the good times, it allows all of us who care about you to share those times as well.

Time moves forward when things are bad, as well. During those times cling to one another. Cling to your faith. And remember that the time of weeping and mourning and tearing and throwing away does not last forever, but just for a time.

Finally remember that all time, the good and the not-so-good, is a gift from God. Time is the great equalizer, for we each receive the same 24 hours in a day, rich or poor, young or old. Carve out some of that precious time to spend with one another, for that gift of time will deepen your relationship and encourage the good times to outpace the bad. Live fully in the present time. Savor the happy memories of times past. Anticipate happy future times to come. Remember that time moves in only one direction — forward. Give thanks to God for the time you two have together. For everything there is a season. May today be our season, our long season, of rejoicing with both of you.

Austin Vining is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Email comments to