Sunday, March 30, 2008
Have you ever found yourself living a life that is about to begin? That was the intro to Pastor Richards sermon today at church. Today began a 10 week study on Ecclesiastes. Not a book I've studied very deeply. I began thinking about all of the expectations I have for my life and how I tell myself...oh life will be good when I am in a career I love, or I will be content when I have a meet the man I marry, or have a family...a life where I am always waiting for the next thing until I really start to live. Richard presented two different lifestyles that we tend to find ourselves in: one where we are waiting to live or one where we are holding on to what we have in the moment afraid to move. We find ourselves reducing life to a formula that will bring us happiness and joy. If only I obey Christ...then I will be blessed, happy, have no suffering, etc. But having lived this Christian faith for most of my life I know that this isn't the case. Rarely do I feel perfectly content, at peace, and happy about who I am and where I am at in life. These old laws of the priesthood correlating obediance = blessing and disobediance = curses doesn't even typically apply to the reality of life. This cause and effect wisdom is not an immutable law. Instead we see leaders in power who have no desire to obey the Lord or there are faithful single mother moms struggling to get by...maybe even faithful teachers that have to pay in on their taxes! We want to believe that if we do everything just right that life will be just right...but this formula fails us when cancer invades life with seemingly no reason at all...a freak car accident causes permanent damage...your spouse loses a job...the list goes on. There is no formula for a perfect life because there is too much out of our control. Life is not black and white. And so to capture this reality and offer another way to view life we read Ecclesiastes in hopes to gain from a king's wisdom as he analyzes this world from the ground level, looking at life "under the sun." A life that affects all of us, Christian or not. When we look at life "under the sun" taking God out of the equation we are confronted with a depressing outlook on life where we can't really hold onto anything or control anything. As we live life slips through our fingers...the joy and pleasure as well as the pain and suffering. But then we see a glimpse of God injected into the text...that there is more to life than "under the sun." We have a window into the wisdom of God...we are invited to gain a different perspective where we see our longings for intimacy, meaning, beauty and justice partially revealed. Not completely because God's kingdom isn't fully established on earth...but glimpses that bring us hope. God invites us into a life of humility where eternity is in our hearts and we stop trying to control the world, we abolish our formula for the perfect life. We are invited to joy as He reveals beauty and grace to us through creation and relationships. And we are led into a life of contentment and satisfaction where we see God's wisdom as we peer through the window of eternity, but continue to fear him as his knowledge and wisdom is not yet fully revealed.