By Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter August 9, 2018
Ecclesiastes is one of those biblical books marked by mirth and meaning, as well as, futility.
Is life just a series of events, one blasted thing happening after the other, to paraphrase Arnold Toynbee. The momentum and pace of our often harried lives can make it seem so.
Consider the movements sermon of the “preacher” from Ecclesiastes. The opening chapters consider the futility of human life, We are born; we live; we work; we age and die... generation after generation, age by age; and nothing seems to change. This is the pessimism of the ordinary. Yet, within the ordinary, their lies the promise of more. Even in the mundane, with the right perspective, one may find meaning and worth.
By the end of the book, we are encouraged to find meaning in following the will and way of God... love and it’s whole duty. Love has a ways of shading and shaping our perceptions. Love can make ordinary events sacred moments.
Consider the call of another poet.
The Summer Day, by the poet Mary Oliver, challenges the listener to see the sacred in the ordinariness of life. Oliver calls us to a Life both wild and precious. You can almost perceive the faith and folly of Ecclesiastes, both.
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
What will you do? How will you choose to see your one, Wild, precious life?