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Frank Sinatra and the Book of Ecclesiastes on the Cycles of Life

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

 So I’m down and so I’m out
But so are many others
So I feel like tryin’ to hide
My head ‘neath these covers
Life is like the seasons
After winter comes the spring
So I’ll keep this smile awhile
And see what tomorrow brings
Cycles”- Frank Sinatra

 Frank Sinatra released the “Cycles” album in late 1968, following a months-long hiatus from creating music. The album is full of reflective songs, including “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” by Jimmy Webb. In choosing the material on the album with his producer, Don Costa, Sintra shows an older, reflective mood in the performances and in the settings. It is like a musical mirror.

I’ve recently talked with folks about the life cycle concept, in business, in relationships, in life itself. There’s no question that businesses rise and fall, all the time. Ways of “doing things” change. “The way it was” isn’t, anymore. The pandemic changed nearly every facet of our lives, worldwide. The days of armies of workers boarding commuter trains for a ride into the city, or driving (with the requisite traffic delays on the way to and from the office) have given way to remote workplaces; in more than a few cases, people are working totally remote jobs. Technology has literally changed that landscape.

Education, especially higher education, has had its own set of cycles, from mostly in-person to institutions offering degrees totally online. Of course, home-school families discern whether to have their children attend traditional brick-and-mortar school, and, after prayer and careful consideration, make their choice of the method that is best for their children.

Life cycles come to mind. There’s the opening line in a 1960s television program, “Ben Casey”, about a dedicated young doctor (Vincent Edwards) doing his daily rounds (in a dramatic fashion, of course) and interacting with his sage Neurosurgery Chief, Dr. Zorba.
The opening segment of the show included the line from Dr. Zorba (Sam Jaffee):

Man

Woman

Birth

Death

Infinity

As we age, we watch so much of what we take for granted changing, literally, in front of us. We can choose to accept change and manage it or fight it. We already know which emotion and action will win.

So, it is with our faith. There is immutable doctrine upon which our faith, our beliefs rest. God so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son to be among us. His arrival, foretold by the prophets, so set the stage for change that Herod ordered the slaughter of all first-born male babies in Bethlehem with the intent to end Jesus’ life. Herod, of course, failed. Jesus’ public ministry heralded change for the Jewish community, and its leaders reacted with the intent to silence Our Lord but, even in death on a cross, Jesus rose, and  in the glorious days to His Ascension, He commanded his disciples  to “….go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 29:19). Change came to the world, and still does.

The cycle continues.

We are his people, and he is our God.

Faith is true. Change is constant.

We live our lives in faithfulness until the time the Lord comes to meet us, and we enter eternity.

Image: James Losey Flickr.

 

 

 


Michael Throop