Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ecclesiastes 3


We met this past Thursday January 18th at Joanne and Terry's home as Gail led our discussion of Ecclesiastes chapter 3. After we reviewed the first two chapters Gail began our discussion with the first 8 verses of chapter 3. These verses are both a very famous poem as well as a bridge that evokes the overall theme of timelessness that humankind cannot control. These verses mention 14 positive attributes of life under the sun, and 14 negative attributes of life under the sun. It's mathematical value being 0, an empty sum that symbolizes the meaninglessness the teacher wants us to consider as our possible fate separate from god. Pretty cool , huh ?

 But the teacher is clear. There is a time for everything, and it is all done in God's time. Do we find satisfaction in this fact, or does our lack of control lead us to see futility and vanity in all of living ? Gail brought up Augustine's quote “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” And an unnamed quote from another sources that says ,"Life is like a jigsaw puzzle that has a piece missing. And that missing piece is God."

 There was also a quote we didn't discuss but I since found it from Blaise Pascal. “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?

 This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself” We concluded there was an uncomfortable balance in the message of chapter 3 with a few quirks as well. The comfort of the first 13 verses to the futile cynicism in verses 19 through 22 leaves us searching. The teacher leaves us where we were last week; wondering where our lives will lead us and what control do we have over our fate ? To be continued !

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