1 The words of the Teacher of the Assembly, David’s son, king in Jerusalem: 2 Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, perfectly pointless. Everything is pointless. 3 What do people gain from all the hard work that they work so hard at under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains as it always has. 5 The sun rises, the sun sets; it returns panting to the place where it dawns. 6 The wind blows to the south, goes around to the north; around and around blows the wind; the wind returns to its rounds again. 7 All streams flow to the sea, but the sea is never full; to the place where the rivers flow, there they continue to flow. 8 All words are tiring; no one is able to speak. The eye isn’t satisfied with seeing, neither is the ear filled up by hearing. 9 Whatever has happened— that’s what will happen again; whatever has occurred— that’s what will occur again. There’s nothing new under the sun. 10 People may say about something: “Look at this! It’s new!” But it was already around for ages before us. 11 There’s no remembrance of things in the past, nor of things to come in the future. Neither will there be any remembrance among those who come along in the future. (Ecclesiastes 1:1–11 CEB)
Living on a farm (albeit a small farm, but a farm nonetheless) I am learning the importance of ritual. Every morning when the rooster crows it means that life depends on following through with the ritual. We must wake up and proceed to release, feed, water, and shade our animals for the umpteenth time. If we don’t? Well, if we don’t that’s when life slips away and death steps in. Yet, in the midst of the routine there are moments of life. The chickens rush out with such enthusiasm one can’t help but smile. The rabbits settle down from their night of frolicking and are so incredibly soft to the touch. The goats nibble gently on your clothes as they snuggle up to you, longing for love more than food. The dog bouncing in circles at the thought of breakfast. The morning meow from the cat and gifts caught in the night. Life.
The Teacher calls it hebel, often translated as meaningless, vanity, pointless, ungraspable. Perhaps he is right. Day after day doing the same thing with the same results. Maybe it is hebel. But then again, maybe it’s not. Maybe Jesus is right there in the midst of the 8th load of laundry for the day or the 12th load of dishes, waiting to be seen. Like a child who can tell the same joke over and over, never growing tired of it, perhaps God is right there in the midst of our ordinary lives, never growing tired of us.
Lord, help me to see you in the everyday monotony. Help me to know you are present and through the very ordinary things I have to do each and every day you are there bringing life. Thank you Lord.