“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[a]
And this is the word that was preached to you.
The grass of a Mediterranean climate sprouts up in a warm, wet winter, but then it burns away in a hot, dry summer. People are beautiful, they are made in the image of God. Look in the eyes of a wizened 80-year-old and you see something that demands respect. However, people who reach 80 live with a strong sense of their mortality, unless they are fools. Existentialists are aware of death, but they choose to make sense of life in the face of the absurd idea that all life ends in death. Nihilists take a darker view, since life ends in death it is utterly meaningless, it is ‘sound and fury signifying nothing.’ The Book of Ecclesiastes seems nihilist at first glance (https://theplymothian.me/2011/09/02/ecclesiastes-intro/) . ‘”Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless,” writes the author of Ecclesiastes. However, when we push further we see that meaningless means ‘vaporous’. Vapour, steam, or mist is around just for a short while and then disappears. Grass grows for a season and then it dies away. People have relatively short lives when compared to the age of the earth and the eternity of God.
In contrast with our meaningless existence there is gravity and substance in the things that endure. A transient person needs rooting in an eternal principle. we find vain attempts at this when an atheist says, “Life is the chemical reaction that occurs in the brain. When we die all life ceases. We may be remembered by loved ones that we leave behind, but that is the end of the life we live.” Notice how the atheist wants to be remembered by loved ones. The memory of the community gives weight to their existence that they do not have. However, if we embody the living word then we have an existence that is meaningful beyond our present life. We become part of the redemption plan which is the gospel. People are happier and more fulfilled when living for something beyond themselves. They are able to see beyond the limitations of being grass.
Death will come to me sooner than I think. Help me to be ready for the passing years to be done, for my beauty to have withered. Help me to trust in the eternal word and step into eternity full of faith and hope.
- How is a person like grass?
- How are the eternal and temporal contrasted?
- What is the ‘word’ in this passage?
- What have older people told you about life?
- How are you able to learn from the idea that you are grass, but that you trust in the word?