“All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”
Since our theme for this year is misery and brokenness, I suspect we shall be revisiting Ecclesiastes (known in our house as the Book of Eccles) quite often. Seen as quite a depressing collection of wisdom sayings, I grow fonder of it as I grow older, for the sight here is plain and free of ego, and all is laid bare. This facing of facts is refreshing in a Christian culture that seeks to put a positive spin on everything.
Because sometimes, there isn’t a silver lining, only more cloud. Some people never get to see their potential fulfilled (in fact, I’d argue that most don’t). Some people don’t even get to be born, or they leave us far too early because of a drunk driver, or because they were a drunk driver. Or they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Reminding us that the main certainty in life is that we are all headed for death, is actually quite comforting to me, and it can be so not from a nihilistic point of view, that such thinking makes life devoid of all meaning, but because it reinforces the transient and temporal nature of this earthly life and our often weary or slowly disintegrating bodies.
We are all, like it or not, falling to bits, and the real questions are not about how we avoid that, or stay fit or try to look younger, or find our God-given health and prosperity (and yacht, don’t forget the yacht), but rather, what do we believe that makes this life bearable? What is actually the meaning that transcends the dust? Can we live with the faith that eternity with our Lord is the real prize? That there is a part of us that returns home to him at the end of our days and is free?
If we cannot see beyond our three score and ten, we are blind indeed, and whilst God is intimately interested in all we do, and does have plans for us, loving us in our flesh so much that he chose to live out a life within it too, it is our immortal spirit that truly needs to find its way. And we begin that journey here and now, for the Kingdom of God, the realm of the eternal, is indeed near at hand, close as our own breath.
Photo from Morguefile.com