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March 25 , 2011

Ecclesiastes Dispels Illusions


Ecclesiastes is a John-the-Baptist kind of book. It functions less as a meal; more as a bath. It is less nourishment; more cleansing. It is repentance. It is purging. We read Ecclesiastes to get scrubbed clean from illusion and sentiment, from ideas that are idolatrous and feelings that satiate. Qohelet writes an exposé and rejection of arrogant and ignorant expectation that we can live our lives by ourselves on our own terms.

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Ecclesiastes challenges the naïve optimism that sets a goal that appeals to us and then goes after it with gusto, expecting the result to be a good life. The Teacher’s cool skepticism clears the air. It is a refreshing negation to the lush and seductive marketing swirling around us, promising everything but delivering nothing. And once the air is cleared, we are ready for reality – for God.

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