September Into October.
Days of overcast, wind, rain. The local river is at full and overflowing. Water stands in roads, yards, ditches. My front porch and welcome mat are water-logged from blown rain. The back stairs and stoop from the back door, already worn and water-damaged, will need replacing.
It’s a verb made up by Devin G. Durrant, First Counselor, Sunday School General Presidency of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In a conference address this past weekend, Durrant challenged us to choose a verse from scripture, ponder it for a week, and memorize it. It is a good practice for spiritual growth.
The advice recalls Edgar Lee Masters’s character, “Mrs. George Reece,” who, in Spoon River Anthology, speaks, “To this generation I would say: / Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty. / It may serve a turn in your life.” In the dire circumstances of her life, this verse from Alexander Pope kept her active and dignified: “Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”
To start my spiritual exercise I might use this: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”
Notes on Reading. Scripture. Ecclesiastes
When I read, study, or teach the book, I recall twenty-one insights or pieces of knowledge to gain from reading this short, somber book of Wisdom Literature from the Old Testament Here are several of them:
It is vain to try to gain knowledge of God’s purpose and plan. Our efforts to do so are complicated and frustrated because God indicates a plan but creates us as people to search and not be able to find it. (3:11)
Wisdom does not enable us to understand.
Nature is magnificent, wonderful, and gives us knowledge of God’s glory (1:5-7), but its occurring patterns may become monotonous to us.
Our lives and our work will not endure and will not be remembered.
The seeking of pleasure does not satisfy us.
All, whether wise or foolish, meet the same fate, death.
God gives us pleasures of work, food, and drink, and we should enjoy those pleasures.
Friends are valuable.
Money has its place, but it does not satisfy and often leads to harm. In the end, money is meaningless.
There is injustice. Life is not fair. The good often suffer and the unjust often prevail. There are unjust things which we cannot change.
“In the morning, sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hands be idle; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (11:6)
There is a magnificent poem, beginning in Chapter 11 and ending in Chapter 12, first celebrating the opportunities and glories of youth and then acknowledging with a realistic description our aging and loss of faculties.
There are concentrations of proverbs, each worthy of consideration. (Chapters 7, 10, 11)
It is a powerful and sad book that offers us many insights into our life and how we are to live it.
Thank you for reading. I hope your days are good.