Monday, March 29, 2010

205: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Ecclesiastes 1-4
"All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return." - Ecclesiastes 3:20

Oh boy, Ecclesiastes is worse to type than Deuteronomy. Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes... Got it.

The title of the first chapter is "Everything is Meaningless". This should be an inspiring day. The speaker is a son of David (Solomon, presumably, but the bible never says explicitly). He basically says that life is meaningless, because everything you do or say will eventually be forgotten. The sun and the earth continue in their orbits regardless of what you do in your life. I don't know what's turned a son of David into such a Debbie downer. Though this passage is incredibly pessimistic, it also seems insightful. The questions he asks, and the things he brings up are things we all need to answer for ourselves. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? (It's definitely not within the scope of this blog to answer those questions :D)

After he tells us that everything is meaningless, he goes on to categorize things, and call them meaningless one by one. His first target is wisdom. He says that he has gained the most wisdom in all of Jerusalem, and it's all turned out to be meaningless. In fact, he says that the more knowledge he has gained, the more sorrowful he's been (ignorance is bliss?).

He then goes on to pleasure. Yes, even pleasure is meaningless. He says that he did everything that he could imagine that was pleasurable, he built houses, planted fruit, and acquired a harem. Still, even after all of this, he decided that life was meaningless.

The next thing he tried was being wise, and being a fool. He decided that being wise was better than being a fool. But in the end he concluded that both were meaningless because both the wise man and the fool will be soon forgotten after they die.

Next he started to grieve. Because he realized that if everything in life was meaningless, then all of the work he had done in his life was also meaningless.

I have a fun fact in chapter three. Many of you have probably heard the phrase "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust". What you may not have known is that this phrase isn't found anywhere in the bible. The closest we get to the phrase is from this forlorn son of David, "All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return." (Ecclesiastes 3:20) It's interesting that this is said at so many funerals when, in context, it's so pessimistic. You're essentially saying "your life was meaningless" when you say that at someone's funeral.

Chapter four just repeats that work is meaningless.

I hope nobody is reading Ecclesiastes wanting to make themselves feel better about life.

*News*
In honor of Easter week, we need some Jesus news. Molleindustria has created a 10 second game called "Run, Jesus Run" based on the life of Jesus. This is far more fun/awesome than it sounds.


Run, Jesus Run: Level 1

You're supposed to read each passage in the upper right hand corner and act based on that passage. However, since I haven't gotten that far, it turned into some enjoyable button mashing. The final scoring system is in "apostles". I got 12 apostles, can you?

(via Molleindustria [Run, Jesus Run])

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