Sunday, February 26, 2012
Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 2:24-3:15
Qoheleth (the Teacher) drops somewhat of a bomb on the wisdom texts of the Old Testament, by delivering an alternate form of wisdom literature. The poetry of our text today is a popular pericope within scripture (due in part to the song “There is a season; Turn, Turn, Turn,” by The Byrds). For our reading I have included the blocks of text before and after the poem.
The Teacher isn’t delivering the practical wisdom of Proverbs (cause and effect). Instead, Ecclesiastes tells the reader that “life happens.” There is no avoiding the seasons of life, this is, “chasing after wind.” For Qoheleth, life is cause and effect and wisdom is balance: “There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil” (2:26, NRSV).
In every step we take and every move we make, there is a season. Some days, life will feel meaningless and vain (1:2). In life, remember your joy and remember the Lord; remember to hope in the Lord and know that the Lord is with you in all seasons. Eccl. 2:24-3:15 has a message for all people: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (3:1) or as I like to put it, “life happens.” In response to the seasons of life, “…it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in their toil” (3:13).
The work of the Lord contains mystery for us because it is God alone who does the work (3:11, 14-15). Sometimes it’s hard not to have answers (I’d be the pot calling the kettle black if I said otherwise). Sometimes doubts arise, sometimes they fade, sometimes life doesn’t seem fair, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we don’t meet people well in their respective seasons, sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed, sometimes we love, sometimes we find it hard to love, and when “life happens” we must live it.
Remember, the Lord alone is our God. Seasons come and go; we live and die, all in the work of God alone.
Lord, God, it is your grace that saves us; in your grace there is no vanity. You did the work through the cross. You cover us in grace and that alone is enough. Your work of grace has justified us and continues to sanctify us, pointing our eyes to you, as we kneel at the foot of your cross – in awe of the work you have done and in reverence of the God that you are – thanks to you Lord. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.