For Such a Time as This

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Learning for Life: 9:30 am 
Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: September 23, 2018

NewsletterSeptember 2018

Scriptures: Psalm 30Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, 5:10-20, 11:7-12:14


Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

Can a book that begins,

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the preacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” –

turn out to be a book about joy?

It is easy to see why people find Ecclesiastes depressing or even nihilistic.

Surprisingly, few books in the Bible devote as much space as Ecclesiastes does to affirming joy and what is good in life.

To be fair, Ecclesiastes does earns its bad reputation. It attacks many of the things Christians and non-Christians alike count on for meaning in life. It attacks our ideas about God and how God works in the world. The author of Ecclesiastes believes that humanity creates and relies on many unreliable illusions in a attempt to be in control as God is in control and to know as only God knows.

We are not left empty handed though. Over and over again, the author exhorts us to see the good in life – to look for it – and to do good things in life. The author also points to the source of joy and meaning in life: God.

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without God, who can eat or find enjoyment?”

Perhaps accepting that we are creatures, utterly dependent on our creator for joy and contentment, is the idea that discourages humanity the most and so we prefer the illusions.

Where does your joy come from? What you do think a good life looks like?

We may wish for other times, when everything simply works out for everyone, when God is visible and heard clearly, when there is no injustice – but God has placed us at this time. Ecclesiastes exhorts believers to be absolutely honest about the pain and uncertainty of life and to be honest about God’s seeming distance. At the same time, we are to look for joy and to enjoy the good in life.