Actually, it’s my Sunday School class on Ecclesiastes that spurs me to look at life. Mine, not just the life of the Teacher who wrote this puzzling book. For example, how many times can you read that something they did or you’re doing is “meaningless” or “futile” without wondering,” Hmm, is this about me?”
ON SILENCE or WHEN LESS IS MORE
In my last post, I referred to the admonition to speak (or write) fewer words since the more words, the less they mean.(Eccle 6:11) Maybe that’s why I paid closer attention to something Dean Robert, in Morning Prayers from Canterbury Cathedral quoted a few days ago. “Be silent about great things. Let them grow inside you. Never discuss them. Discussion is so limiting and distracting. It makes things grow smaller. You think you swallow things when they ought to swallow you. Before all greatness be silent: in art, in music, in religion. Be silent.” (Friedrich Von Hugel from Letters to a Niece)
Actually, I thought this verse connected well to Mother’s Day. “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind.(Eccle 2:11a, NLT) Like, didn’t I just do the laundry?”(I don’t think my children read this blog, but just in case, this is not about you. Really.) For sure, one needs a long view on parenting or gardening. There are seasons that can’t be rushed.
But then the writer urges, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (Eccle, 9:10,NRSV) Well, Sheol isn’t hell, it’s the grave. But when I first read, “To which you are going” it raised more than my eyebrows of which I have few. Then I remembered something Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Sometimes this writer leaves little to ponder. “And when your teeth are gone, keep your lips tightly closed when you eat!”(Eccle 12:4a, NLT) Like I wrote last time, some things leave no room for argument.
I can hardly wait for class next Sunday. Meanwhile whatever you’re going through, keep on going. And listen for the laughter. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure it’s God’s.
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