Anglican Morning Devotion for 15 June 2021 A.D.
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:1-7
We are all children in the eyes of the Lord. Children must constantly be reminded to ‘remember.’ Remember to brush your teeth; remember to take your lunch money to school; remember to look both ways before crossing the street, etc. When something was particularly important to do, my mom told me more than once to remember to do it. Remembering the important things in life as children results in responsible adults who conduct themselves out of good habits as much as memory. The same is true of the Christian. Righteous conduct will eventually become an ingrained habit. Of course, that habit is weak for it is constantly being challenged by temptation. So God reminds us to remember whose we are – our Creator.
We find here a contrast from the last two verse of the previous chapter (Eccl 11:9-10) which tells the youth what to avoid: “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.” Eccl 11:9-10 (KJV) This present leading verse of Eccl 12:1 tells the youth (as well as those ripe in age) what to embrace and remember. The most common form of attention deficit disorder (ADD) occurs in the spiritual realm. The excitement of life with its many allurements often take our focus off the more important reverence we owe our Maker.
As we age, the light of our sun darkens and shadows lengthen. Storm clouds of hardship arise and dissipate – only to return again in other forms of hardship for the aged. (v 2) The hands tremble and are beset with arthritic pain. These are the ‘keepers of the house.’ The legs bow and the knees are pained. The teeth make no crisp sound when eating because they are few. (grinders) The eyes of the elderly peer from behind narrow eyelids and are weakened to vision. (v 3) The lips of the aged, not supported by a full set of teeth, close tightly and the teeth being few, allow only for a muffled sound at the dinner plate. Though loud speech is difficult for the elderly to hear, they are yet startled by the unexpected chirp of the bird. (v 4) The elderly fear high places and stairways for the danger of falling. Fear is generated at every tree and street corner. The hair of the head becomes white like the blossoming of the almond tree. The desires of youth are starkly dampened for the aged. Even a grasshopper is a weighty burden. All are signs of the gloomy spectacle of one’s long home – the grave. The aged are keenly aware of each event of mourning for the dead for it signals their own demise. (v5)
The silver cord could relate to the spinal cord that controls every movement of the body unless damaged by compressed vertebrae of severance. The golden bowl is the cranial cavity which houses our thought processes. The arteries and veins are the pitcher that transports our blood circulation. The wheel broken at the cistern is the heart that pumps the blood throughout the body. (v 6)
Death eventually comes to all – young, old; male, female, all races – no exception! “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The soil of the earth is composed of every element from which the body is created. The atrophy of the grave breaks those elements down to their simplest forms again in the form of dust (or soil). Then what? The physical elements of the body do return to the dust of the earth, but the spirit, that is immortal, returns to God who gave it. The Judgment of God will determine further disposition of our spirits based upon our state of grace at death. What is the ultimate destination of your soul?