Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 — NRSV
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, all is vanity. I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and chasing after wind. I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

Chasing After the Wind
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Things we do
that are pointless
before God…
What we accomplish that
in the long run mean
Turning our minds
to futile thoughts and schemes…
That which holds us
in patterns that are fruitless loops.
These are the writer’s points
for us to consider,
but there is
really only one point
we should take with us,
and I interpret it like this:
vanity equals
whatever we do
that distracts us
from living an essential life.
What is an essential life?
This is a life that
seeks God
and God’s ways,
holds truth
as a high value,
finds virtue in godly things,
and seeks justice
as one of the highest goods.
This is not about piety.
This is not about accumulations of things.
This is not even about praying.
It is about
seeking out the core
of all being,
the nature
of the Spirit in others,
and in ourselves,
and finding ways to proclaim
the Sacred
in our thoughts and actions.
Which is,
in the end,
about prayer.
I think the question for this
“Teacher,” is
do we pray sometimes,
and chase the wind the rest of the time,
or is the entirety
of our living
a prayer?


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