Friday, December 5, 2008

Chasing the wind.- a sermon by The Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts

The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes tells how he tried all the things which in his time were thought to be fulfilling. One by one he dismisses his experience with a phrase that runs like a thread through the whole book and that was like chasing the wind.

Most of us can identify with much of what he wrote. I can. Change the names, dates, and places and it's our story too. We all spent more time than we would like to admit chasing things that we thought we wanted and avoiding things we thought we did not need. And so much of it turned out to be like chasing the wind or worse.

Can we find a way to get loose from the things that we have chased and caught which have made us miss the main meaning of life? Can we find courage and strength to turn and face the things from which we have been running? Is there a way to re-direct our energy from running to waiting? It won't be easy, but it is possible, and, trust me, it is worth the effort.  more

That's what I want to talk about today. It appears that the writer of Ecclesiastes came slowly and painfully to the saving insight with which he ends his story. We can hear his disappointment at the end of each frustrating experience. We can sense the emotional and spiritual woundedness each time some grand experiment left him feeling empty. Yet he was persistent and stubborn. He tried it all! All of us who have lived very long understand that. We have been there. Some of us are still there. Insight tends to come slowly. Very few people get to see a blinding light on the road to Damascus. We keep on trying the same things over and over, hoping to get a different result until finally it dawns on us that we have been looking for meaning in all the wrong places-chasing the wind.

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