Good Zeal

Reading Ecclesiastes on the biggest shopping day of the year

Today, on “Black Friday,” the biggest shopping day of the year, our scripture reading at Vespers happened to come from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. This being my week to read, I was the one to get up and speak the familiar lines: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to seek and a time to lose…a time to keep and a time to cast away…”

I savored the words, reading with a kind of languid, unhurried voice, wanting to linger on each glowing phrase even as I hastened straight away to the next verse and the next and the next, one of which read, “God “has put the timeless into [our] hearts…”

In the midst of what has become, in our day, a season of shopping, celebrating, rushing, and being very, very busy about many, many things, these verses remind us of balance, perspective, and of God’s ordered time and timelessness. They invite us to root the otherwise ephemeral and fleeting activities of the season in the timelessness of the Eternal even as we hasten straight away to what is next and next and next… They call us to linger with each passing moment, and savor the eternity that glows within.

I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by. Ecclesiastes 3:14-15

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