It is no secret that I am a verdant seeker and searcher of all that is mystical and practical, addicted to more of God and all that is Sacred. I am not easily quieted or quenched by safe answers. As a teenager, I would walk around my church youth group with a homemade t-shirt that said, “you know the Answer, but do you even know the Questions?”
As is often the case with me and God – the hand held Mystery, the Unsayable Said – Wisdom comes through fragments of papers, random Google searches, strange emails, etc., questing for deeper and richer experiences of all that is Holy and profane.
And today this Message came to me, from The Message (a modern day translation of the Bible) written by one of my favorite people, Eugene Peterson. This comes from his translation of Ecclesiastes, one of the least appreciated books of the bible precisely because it is not pretty, packaged or pedantic with gentle answers.
So, read it with me with rage, passion, love, pounding fists, and sweating palms. Read it as prayer, as mantra, as fodder for your Greater Life and the larger angels that inhabit your heart!
A right time to lament and another to cheer.
A right time to hold and another to part.
A time to search and another to count your losses.
One handful of peaceful repose is better than two fistfuls of worried work-
More spitting into the wind.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
God’s in charge, not you – the less you speak, the better.
Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!
God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
But against all illusion + fantasy + empty talk
God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Each day is God’s gift… Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
Be generous! Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Don’t hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others.
Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.
Life as we know it, precious + beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The Spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
The words of the wise prod us to live well. They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd. But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy.
There’s no end to the publishing of books…
The last + final word is this: [Be in awe of] God. Do what He tells you.
Source: The Message (MSG)© Eugene Peterson