Hi friends! Although Ecclesiastes can catch you off guard with it's super pessimistic tone it can also reveal some incredible wisdom and advice as well as provide rich food for debate. As you work through this text read it slowly making sure to check in with yourself frequently asking "do I agree with this? Why or why not? Is this the way I believe a loving God orchestrates the human experience?" With that said, let's jump in and read.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What are my thoughts on destiny? Do I agree that destiny means everything I do is meaningless?
How does this version of David seem similar to the one from 1 Samuel? How is he different?
- My Thoughts -
There is so much good in here that I could either go on for waayyyyy too long or just give you a quick mini thought on each thing that stuck out to me. Because I care for you I'm going to do that instead.
I had to get a laugh when the Teacher writes "do not long for the good ole days. That is foolish." This feel particularly true for a COVID world and perpetually true for churches who are quick to take up the shield bearing the coat of arms "we've never done it that way before." What does it mean for a COVID world to not long for the days of "normal" and instead find God's presence and mission for us even in unsettling and difficult scenarios.
The Teacher writes at one point that don't worry about what you do because your live is determined already by God. Then laments that life is meaningless because no matter what God has already judged your life. That's the tricky thing about prescribing to destiny/fate. It's cute in like romantic scenarios thinking "wow we're soul mates or destined to be together" but it's way less so when we think on a macro level that we are walking a path that is carved for us with no freedom. As Methodist we strongly disagree with pre-determination from God. That was one of those things that separated the Methodists from the Calvinist. We have free will and our free will allows us to do both good and bad. Your actions are not meaningless, your work is not meaningless, nothing is meaningless. Keep doing Kingdom building work.
The Teacher suggests that life is meant to be enjoyed and that we shouldn't work our lives away (because it's meaningless - what a surprise to hear him say that haha). While I don't agree with the meaningless part, I do agree that we shouldn't work our lives away and we should enjoy ourselves when we can. Self-care is a difficult subject to talk openly about and to do routinely because it feels selfish, even if it isn't. When is the last time you've taken all of the vacation days offered to you? When is the last time you've done something nice for yourself? Maybe it's time to do that soon.
Our prayer today is inspired by hymn number 164 in our United Methodist Hymnal - Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life. I invite you to hum, sing, or recite the words as you make them your own. (Never heard this one before and I find it super pretty. I think you'll enjoy it!)
1. Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life: such a way as gives us breath, such a truth as ends all strife, such a life as killeth death.
2. Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength: such a light as shows a feast, such a feast as mends in length, such a strength as makes his guest.
3. Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart: such a joy as none can move, such a love as none can part, such a heart as joys in love.