This week we celebrate Pentecost Sunday and have three young people affirming their baptisms on Sunday morning. I am trying to convince them that church membership and being active in worship do make a difference. I encourage them to remain active after confirmation, through high school, and even into college and beyond!! Then I caught up on my own Bible reading this week and read Ecclesiastes.
For those who have never read this book, over and over it seems to say that everything we do is in vain. All of life is vanity. So it is hard to say that we ought to go to church, ought to read our Bibles, ought to pray, ought to share our faith, etc. after reading this book. After all if all is vanity, why do we do anything?
Yet when we look deeper at Ecclesiastes, I remember what my Hebrew professor used to tell us about the word which gets translated “vanity.” He would take a deep breath and let it out quick. This was what vanity means. It is not useless or meaningless, but it is quick and not able to be held. It is fleeting and not something that we can grasp. This is what life is like. We are only on the earth a short time. We cannot really hold onto life the way we sometimes believe that we are grasping life. We will die and the world will go on without us.
But in the end, we are to remember that God is God. We can do no better than to thank God, worship God, and trust in God and just enjoy the gifts God gives us. As Christians, we give thanks most of all that God gives Godself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. So I hope and pray that those being confirmed this week remember that even though life is short and not something we really can take hold of, we have the greatest gift we could ever imagine, we have God with us! So rejoice and enjoy the grace and love that God gives to you every day.