Today's Lectionary Text
I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Stop! Get off the hamster wheel. Unplug. Turn off the phone. Turn the calendar to the wall. Lose the car keys. It’s time for you. And God.
Maybe the holidays were or weren’t as wonderful as you hoped for.
In either case, you may feel let down now, exhausted, or depressed, or all alone. Where is God? It’s hard to find God in our busy busy, work work, cut-off life.
The Israelites, traveling across the desert toward the Promised Land, built themselves a space for God, a holy tent where they knew, could feel, that God was with them, wherever they went. Maybe you and I also need to create space, holy space, holy time.
I have some pictures meaningful to me on my bedroom wall, so I can sit and lean back on the pillows, and focus on them. My son, on the other hand, after a lifetime of enclosed apartment living, now finds his contemplation spot on the front porch, surveying the world outside.
So what draws your mind to quiet, to rest, to look at your life, to opening to God? Is there a place in or near your home where you can be alone? A favorite chair? In your car? In the bathtub? Is there a picture that draws you to it? Favorite music to listen to? The sounds of nature?
There’s an app advertised for your phone that invites you to “do nothing” for so many seconds as you listen to raindrops falling. What smells put your mind elsewhere and when? Cinnamon?
God has given us these reminders, these opportunities to stop the chasing after the wind, because God invites us to spend time in holy time. God is here, with us. Emmanuel. Hold God in your heart, as Mary held that baby boy.
- Jean Gordon Wilcox
First United Methodist Church.
Prayer for Reflection
Dear Lord, in the jumble of today’s world, it’s hard to remember you are with me. Because you are here, I am yours. Amen.
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