WEEK FOUR: ADULTS, TEENS & TWEENS
OCTOBER 7 - 11
Recommended 4th Grade to Adults
There are three books of the Bible that would later come to be called the "wisdom literature." They reveal the collected wisdom of generations of godly people and invite us to consider the complexity and simplicity of living wisely. These three books are the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Each of these books explores the same basic theme and tackles the same basic question.
As we all continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the experiences we’ve all been having is the feeling of losing control. And while this stripping away of control is a painful experience, according to the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, it’s one of the best worst things that can happen to us. One of the first steps toward biblical wisdom is a posture of total surrender before God. And nothing helps us get there quicker than losing control of our lives. This kind of loss can also help us rediscover the many simple gifts that God provides every day—if we have eyes to see them.
Ecclesiastes (Wisdom Literature) video is shown on this page.
One of the teacher’s fundamental frustrations in life is that despite all of the human and natural activity in the world, nothing really ever changes. All of our daily activities that seem so meaningful will be erased and forgotten. This perspective on the passage of time frustrates our attempts to master life; it’s like chasing after the wind.
In what ways do you resonate with this idea?
If we are honest, the course of human life doesn’t work out very well according to a moral logic. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. And even if we do believe that God is working out some larger plan, from our perspective it seems that death and chance happen to us all. This makes all our attempts to “decode” God’s purposes for our world extremely difficult, and the teacher thinks we shouldn’t try. Rather, we should learn to accept whatever life brings our way.
READ & REFLECT
What are you uncomfortable with in this passage? What is comforting?
What does it look like to hold things with open hands?
While the teacher is not optimistic about our ability to understand the ultimate meaning of life, they do want to end on a more clear note. The teacher’s words are like pointy sticks (“goads”) that hurt when they poke you, but they can move you in the right direction. The teacher’s goal is for us to learn how to live and make our decisions from a place of humility before God, trusting that the divine purpose will set all things right one day. And if we feel like we’re in the dark until that day comes, it’s okay. It’s yet another reminder that we are not God, but rather images of God who depend on our creator for hope, meaning, and for life itself.
What in these passages has been most like a “pointy stick,” most painful to grapple with?
Since there’s so much we can’t control and understand, Ecclesiastes instructs us to accept this and live with wisdom and close to God. What would this look like in your own life on a daily basis?
FROM THE CLERGY
David Meginniss shares his commentary on this week's lesson.
WANT TO DIG DEEPER?
Sunday Morning Coffee Hour is now dedicated to Faith Stories discussion.
Cathy Randall will facilitate this discussion for the first two weeks of October!
Grab your coffee and join us at 10 AM on Sunday!
Follow this link to join us https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85217072369