Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vanity of Vanities, Says Qoheleth

Got into work a little earlier today and as usual, I begin my day by read the Daily Readings for the day.

The first reading from Ecclesiasties 1:2-11 caught my interest. It begins

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities!
All things are vanity!What profit has man from all the labor
which he toils at under the sun?
One generation passes and another comes,
but the world forever stays.
The sun rises and the sun goes down;then it presses on to the place where it rises.
Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north,
the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
All rivers go to the sea,yet never does the sea become full.
To the place where they go,
the rivers keep on going.
All speech is labored;
there is nothing one can say.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear satisfied with hearing.

I had to read more so I read through the rest of the book of Eccl.

Needless to say, I needed some extra help understanding what I was reading. So I popped over to New Advent website and looked up Ecclesiastes.

Qoheleth is the son of David , or so that's how he introduces himself, and Qoheleth is going on about his observations of his present time. All the hard times and good times, the bad and good, the sun rises and the sun sets, the rich taking advantage of the poor, visa versa, etc. etc. etc..

Most of us remember this book for it's chapter 3:

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

For those old enough it's the lyrics to that old Birds hit of the '60's.

Anyway, I guess it caught my interest this morning because as I went to bed last night after watching the news, I remember all this vanity of vanities talk.

Everyone mashing their teeth, gawking in anger over the financial crisis, the war, the environment, the latest sports scores. My children perplexing over the next day test, I worried about my fathers surgery of that day.

All these observations, and I guess I realized, I was doing the same thing that Qoheleth was doing!

Qoheleth's message? What was he trying to say?

Maybe a reminder that "to everything, there is a season."

God's providence will see us through and he does have a plan. We may get lost in the day's tials and tribulations, joys and griefs, but we can always be certain that God is in control.

So I feel sort of better this morning. I realize that I shouldn't rely on people for my daily dose of happiness or financial comfort or whatever.

People can let you down, things can go wrong.

This final thought on my mornings reading adventure:

Every age may learn from his teaching that man's true happiness must not be looked for on earth, not in human wisdom, not in luxury, not in royal splendour; that many afflictions await everybody, in consequence either of the iniquity of others, or of his own passions; that God has shut him up within narrow limits, lest he become overweening, but that He does not deny him a small measure of happiness if he does not "seek things that are above him" (vii, 1, Vulg.), if he enjoys what God has bestowed on him in the fear of the Lord and in salutary labour. The hope of a better life to come grows all the stronger the less this life can satisfy man, especially the man of high endeavour. ( Ecclesiastes)


Don't worry, Be Happy... (hope that little tune sticks in your head today)

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