By Reverend Joshua J. Kang
All the vegetable beds at the community garden in Grand Forks closed a few weeks ago, following another fruitful year.
The water has been turned off, the pipes have been blown out and all the gardeners have been repairing the bed frames and adding the soil for next spring.
As I think on the different faces of the garden that I saw in different seasons and some wonderful memories that I have in the garden, I think of the fact that there is a time for everything.
There’s 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 (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2,).
From our experience in life, many of us are very knowledgeable about the first three seasons in life.
First, there’s spring — the period of preparing and planting the seeds. Then there’s summer, the season of working hard with everything you have got. Next comes the fall — the harvest season that you enjoy.
However, the winter of life seems to be very mysterious, and it contains all the challenges that we don’t love: Tears, weeping, heartbreaks, sickness, aging and death.
The Word of God tells us that the season doesn’t end on earth by death: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9: 27, 28).
What would the other side of this physical world be like?
Jesus Christ, who has experienced both sides of the world, told us a story to prepare us for the final season in Luke’s Gospel.
There was a rich man who lived in luxury every day, and he was not a God-fearing man.
At his gate was a laid a beggar named Lazarus, and he was a believer.
Both died, as does everybody else.
The angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side, which the first audience understood as a metaphor for God. The rich man also died, and when he woke up, he was in the abyss, where he was in torment. He looked up and saw God far away, with Lazarus by his side.
He cried to the Lord for his mercy, but it was too late to change the circumstance.
With frustration, he prayed: “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family to warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” The Lord replied, “They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them. If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16: 19-31).
Moses and the Prophets stand for Jesus Christ and all the messengers of God who testify Jesus Christ to be the Messiah who has redeemed us from sin and death through his death and resurrection on our behalf.
The good news is that whoever calls on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved and have an eternal season that has full of life and glory in God for eternity (John 3: 16).
Friends, there is a time for everything under heaven.
How have you been preparing for the coming winter of life?
Now is the time for God’s grace and salvation.
Rev. Joshua J. Kang
St. John’s United Church, Grand Forks