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Is all vanity?

Is all vanity?
You turn men back into dust
and say: ‘Go back, sons of men.’
To your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday, come and gone,
no more than a watch in the night.
You sweep men away like a dream,
like grass which springs up in the morning.
In the morning it springs up and flowers:
by evening it withers and fades.

This excerpt from Psalm 89 (our oldest psalm, tradtionally believed to have been composed by Moses) runs the risk of making our lives seem a little futile.  Indeed the Preacher seems to agree:

‘Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says.  Vanity of vanities.  All is vanity!’ 

Take heart, however, because if we see the psalm, if we see the Preacher – indeed if we see all of creation – in the light of Christ, then futility gives way to firm purpose; hopelessness to hopefulness.

It is with this Christ-centred vision that St Peter kindly interprets Psalm 89 for us:

But there is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.  The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways… Think of our Lord’s patience as your opportunity to be saved‘ (2 Peter 3:8-9 & 15).

Without the Lord there is no sense to life, the universe or anything: all is futile, all is vanity.  With the Lord, every day is full of opportunities to serve him through serving others, to love him through loving others.  Every single thought, word and deed can be used to draw closer to the Lord, making ourselves ‘rich in his sight’.

Let us thank the Lord for his patience with us and pray that we may never miss those opportunities to make his Kingdom come.

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