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November 22

Tuesday

 

Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.Ecclesiastes 1 1:2 (RSV)

 

I’ve been feeling rather weighed down lately with family responsibilities, spending as much time as possible with a dying friend and coping with work deadlines. But tonight I remembered something I discovered several years ago, when I was feeling both burdened and somewhat depressed.  I’d started reading Ecclesiastes, and it fit my mood so well that I just kept on until I’d finished the book (which is only eight short chapters). It was a healing catharsis for me then, and it had the same effect tonight.

 

It’s the deep honesty of the book that moves me so much. The writer puts into words all those vague, burdensome feelings most of us have at times, about the seeming futility of earthly life and its many injustices — feelings we’re afraid to speak or even admit to ourselves.

 

Reading Ecclesiastes is like taking hold of both ends of a battery. It’s a series of shocks that makes me want to commiserate, saying, “Yeah, that’s the way I feel, too!” Yet in the reading of it, I somehow come to a degree of acceptance of the alternating currents of life, knowing that all is in divine order, and that I can trust the great mystery of it all (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

 

If you’re feeling burdened or depressed, I heartily recommend reading Ecclesiastes. But I think it’s very important to read the whole book at one sitting. In that way, you come out the other end, not dimmed out but glowing.

 

Thank You, Lord, for the Preacher’s courageous honesty in writing the book of Ecclesiastes, and for its great truth that nothing matters but You. —Marilyn Morgan King

 

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