Thursday, June 4, 2020
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Ecclesiastes 9:1 – 10:20 (NRSV)
All this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them 2is vanity, since the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to those who sacrifice and those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; those who swear are like those who shun an oath. 3This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. 6Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all. 12For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.
13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun,
and it seemed important to me. 14There was a little city with few people in it. A great
king came against it and besieged it, building great siege-works against
it. 15Now there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his
wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16So I said,
‘Wisdom is better than might; yet the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his
words are not heeded.’
17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one bungler destroys much good.
10:1 Dead flies make
the perfumer’s ointment give off a foul odor;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of a fool to the left.
3 Even when fools walk on the road, they lack sense,
and show to everyone that they are fools.
4 If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post,
for calmness will undo great offences.
5 There is an evil that I have seen under the
sun, as great an error as if it proceeded from the ruler: 6folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low
place. 7I have seen slaves on horseback, and princes
walking on foot like slaves.
8 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
and whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a snake.
9 Whoever quarries stones will be hurt by them;
and whoever splits logs will be endangered by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not whet the edge,
then more strength must be exerted;
but wisdom helps one to succeed.
11 If the snake bites before it is charmed,
there is no advantage in a charmer.
12 Words spoken by the wise bring them favor,
but the lips of fools consume them.
13 The words of their mouths begin in foolishness,
and their talk ends in wicked madness;
14 yet fools talk on and on.
No one knows what is to happen,
and who can tell anyone what the future holds?
15 The toil of fools wears them out,
for they do not even know the way to town.
16 Alas for you, O land, when your king is a servant,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is a nobleman,
and your princes feast at the proper time—
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
19 Feasts are made for laughter;
wine gladdens life,
and money meets every need.
20 Do not curse the king, even in your thoughts,
or curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
for a bird of the air may carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.
- · At the time of writing, the Jewish tradition did not include an idea about heaven. The only afterlife was a shadowy place called Sheol and nothing happened there. It wasn’t until around two centuries before Jesus that the Jewish religion started discussing the possibility of a heaven. This greatly impacts the Teacher’s view of life on earth.
- · The speculation about King Solomon writing or in some way authoring this book partially comes from the plethora of examples involving the actions of kings. Whoever wrote the book seems to have watched kings and courtiers carefully.
- · Dogs were scavengers, not household pets. Dogs were not wanted in houses. Lions were thought to be noble creatures.
- · Chapter 10 is a miscellaneous collection of proverbs, though some of them seem rather strange to us.
- · Wisdom literature was important in ancient times, the people wanted to have something to teach their children and grandchildren, it was also seen as a way to leave a legacy for generations. People don’t want their own mistakes to go to waste.
- · The book of Ecclesiastes backs up the Romans 2:11 verse “God shows no partiality”, the author continually notes that disaster comes upon everyone and even when you are good and wise bad things can happen to you.
Wait for a minute
- 1. What do you believe about heaven?
- 2. Where did you learn your ideas about heaven?
- 3. What scriptures impact your understanding of heaven?
- 4. What wisdom does the Teacher give about relating to rulers or governments?
- 5. What do you think about the wisdom the Teacher offers?
- 6. What is your favorite proverb from Chapter 10? Why?
- 7. What wisdom do you find in these proverbs?
- 8. Do you believe God shows partiality? Why or why not?
- 9. How do you think the book of Ecclesiastes speaks to what is going on in the world today?
- 10. Do you find anything in the book from the Teacher wise? Why or why not?
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. (BCP 820)
Bible Art – picture
Monday, June 1, 2020
Dear St. John's Community,
As many of you are, I am also saddened and angered by the outpouring of hate which has happened in our country in the last couple of weeks. People should not be continuing to die because of hateful discrimination. As people of faith, we are called to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with others and God. The actions of many in the last few weeks have been unjustified and tragic.
On June 3, 2017 I wrote a newspaper article for The Derrick's Upward View titled, "Diversity is a gift from Holy Spirit." It was published the day before the Day of Pentecost and I was pointing to the scripture passage from Acts 2 we read each year on Pentecost. In the passage, the disciples are all given gifts of speaking in different languages. God did not call one people, one language to follow Jesus. God called all the people of the world to follow Jesus and made that very clear by the Holy Spirit's gifts so the disciples could spread the Gospel to all people.
God calls all people to follow the way of Jesus Christ, and that way is Love. Even in the midst of turmoil, violence, oppression, we are called to follow the way of Love. Many in our area may be saddened by what is going on in cities and other places far away, but feel comforted by the lack of problems here. Here in Venango County, our population of 50,000 people is 95% Caucasian/White. We may not see the same kind of violence in our county based on discrimination, but that is only because it is better hidden. We are the privileged who do not have to worry about running from the police, we are the privileged who can voice our opinions without worry of death threats or violence. We are the privileged, and now it is our turn to listen. We need to listen to our brothers and sisters across the country as they speak about their experience. We need to listen to our sisters and brothers and take responsibility for our actions. We need to listen and learn how we can make changes for the common good of all.
Moving forward will take hard listening, opening up, and accepting our own actions as part of the system of injustice in our country. Moving forward will require grace and open eyes and hearts for us to make changes. We are called by God through Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Love with ALL people, respecting their dignity and their abilities.
I pray we can all open our hearts to really listen in this time of change.
Elizabeth+*This letter was emailed to the community of St. John's on May 31, 2020 on the Day of Pentecost