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Clue #5: Death (10 of 11)
Series: The Pursuit of Happiness
Good morning. All summer we've been studying the book of Ecclesiastes, which is part of the Hebrew ''wisdom literature.'' It was written by King Solomon, the son of King David, who lived and ruled in Israel about 3,000 years ago. And in this book, he's brutally honest about a time in his life when he was searching for meaning and happiness. To use a philosophical term, he was facing an existential crisis…which Wikipedia defines like this: An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose, or value.
So he starts the book by describing different ways he tried to find fulfillment-by chasing wisdom and education, by maximizing the pleasure in his life, by success and accomplishment. And every time, he came up short. In fact, over and over again, he says it was ''meaningless'' -which is translating a Hebrew word that literally means ''vapor.'' It didn't give him anything to grab onto.
And then a few weeks ago, we started a section of the book where he's observing things in the world that could possibly serve as clues to what life is about. So he talked about the clue of injustice-this innate sense of right and wrong that we all seem to have-what could that tell us about life? He talked about the clue of loneliness-this inner craving for relationships that we all have. The clue of greed-why do we so often idolize money and possessions? What does that tell us about ourselves? And then last we looked at the clue of sadness-why is it that some of the wisest people are those who can deeply feel the sadness of life?
So today we come to the fifth and last clue, before we finish the book next week: and that is the clue of death. As if you're not depressed enough that the summer is almost over, you come to church and the topic is death. So let's read the passage-Ecclesiastes ...
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