Herman Melville tells us in Moby Dick that, "Ecclesiastes is the truest of all books."
That quote grabbed me after I had decided to do a sermon series on Ecclesiastes. The truest of all books? If that's the case then why is it so overlooked? Why do so few Christians read it?
Perhaps because, like most great literature (like Moby Dick!) it's difficult. Ecclesiastes is deceptively complex and it's not easy to interpret. But more than that, the central message is very, very dark and most of us would rather read the more heartwarming passages of scripture than be punched square in the gut with how "vain", "useless", and "profitless" much of our life is.
I'm calling the sermon series "Dark Grace" after reading about the distinction that Fulton Sheen made between "black grace" and "white grace" - revelation by darkness rather than light.
Peter Kreeft said of Ecclesiastes, "in this book God reveals to us exactly what life is when God does not reveal to us what life is. Ecclesiastes frames the Bible as death frames life."
I take this to mean that the Bible's answers only make sense when we adequately assess our situation - that we live in a dark, broken, and often sad world, and that without cosmic intervention we are all consigned to the dustbin of history.
So, are you ready? Are you ready to take an unflinching look at the human condition? Are you willing to take a long hard look at the ways in which we seek to avoid asking important questions because they bring up uncomfortable answers?
For the next seven weeks we'll be taking a tour of our world as it is through the eyes of Ecclesiastes.