ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS
with Rev. Rachel
11 ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS Ecclesiastes 3
Okay. So where do you fall along the spectrum?
• High meaningfulness, low crisis of meaning (meaningful) • Low meaningfulness, low crisis of meaning (existentially indifferent) • High meaningfulness, high crisis of meaning (conflicting) • Low meaningfulness, high crisis of meaning (crisis of meaning)
How meaningful is life and to what extent does the level of meaning you experience affect you? Consider the options above once more. This is a judgment-free zone. A sample of the modern world was surveyed and the findings summarized in Who Cares If It’s All Meaningless Anyway? The article’s catch-line: “A startling proportion of the population, the existentially indifferent, demonstrates little concern for meaning in their lives.”
It is safe to say that if you neither experience your life as particularly meaningful nor suffer from this lack thereof, you are far from alone. It is also safe to say that the Book of Ecclesiastes is, well, not your favorite.
The author is beset by a crisis that may only make sense to those who identify with one end of the spectrum above, whose spirit resonates with the reflection that “all is vanity and a chasing after wind”. “Definitely, everything is pointless—just wind chasing (2:17),” per the Common English Bible’s rendering.
Part of what it means to preach, I’m learning, is to invite myself, first, and then others, to listen for God in Scriptures that do not immediately accommodate our view of things. I’m learning that God doesn’t just work in mysterious ways. God speaks through a cast of unusual suspects who join forces to awaken me to eternity (v.11); that is, to a holy hunger, to the things for which I long but life cannot provide.
The eternity in your heart: It’s there for a reason. The Book of Ecclesiastes? Same goes. If we can offer an earnest, interested read to the Searcher in Ecclesiastes, then we can offer these things to our neighbor. If you and I can stretch to connect with our spiritual forebearers, we are made more limber for the connections God calls us to cultivate now. That we perhaps knew less while others felt more and more known in our presence, may it be said of us in 2016 and beyond.