Walter Brueggemann rightly speaks of the “golden age” of Solomon as a time of spiritual decay. Times of satisfaction are never good for the Spiritual life. It is in the passion and the longing for something more just and right that we thrive as spiritual people. Those times where we are in no danger and have become “established”, Brueggemann calls “the Royal Consciousness” (more or less, although I am summarizing and editing a bit).
He says:The royal consciousness leads people to numbness, especially to numbness about death. It is the task of prophetic ministry and imagination to bring people to engage their experience of suffering to death (Prophetic Imagination, 41)
How true this is! We, as Christians, HAVE to learn to take the advice in Ecclesiastes, “Meaningless (or better translated, Stupid!), Meaningless, all is meaningless!” The world does not work the way we think it should. We can’t keep putting that fact under the rug and keep our happy faces on all the time. The quicker we can come to grips with the fact that we will all die and that the good people oftentimes get screwed in life while the swindlers and thieves get rich, the quicker we will give up this nonsense of security.
You will not be remembered. A sobering fact indeed. No one, I mean no one, will even know you ever existed except for some name on a list, in a hundred years. We have to face this fact. But we still try don’t we. Why? Because we cannot face our own death. We cannot imagine truly a time when we will no longer be. But if we can do that, if we can move as Heidegger calls it, into Authenticity, then we are free. We are free to serve God because we truly understand, not just with our mouths like we like to do, but with our lives, we will understand that everything is futile in this life, everything.