Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 "What has been is what will be, and what has beed done is what will be..."


"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said 'See, this is new'? It has already been in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come" (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 NRSV).


It draws me in as something powerful and of great importance in our time. Especially Chapter 1 verse 9-11 (nothing new under the sun). It makes me think of nonlinear time, and that it is referring to something that has gone over all of our heads in past interpretations. The theme of futile labor also resonates strongly with me.


I like your sense that Ecclesiastes is particularly relevant to our time – although people have probably felt that at every time since it was written. It is often thought to be a very despairing, negative work. But I think your image of non-linear time is closer to its spiritual value. There is a sense of what Elton John describes as "The Circle of Life" – what is has been before and will be again. There's a sense of comfort in that – but also a sense of limitation that is not yet ready to recognize the creative and transformative power that we can bring to any situation. If, indeed, there is "nothing new under the sun," it is not because God is denying us new things. It is because we are not creating new things by calling upon our innate Oneness with God.
It is generally thought that Ecclesiastes was written somewhere between 450 and 330 B.C.E. – a time after the return from Babylon when the nation of Israel was prospering, but individual lives were not. (Speaking of being relevant to our own time!) There's a sense of helpless that must simply be accepted as 'how life is.' This is an inevitable step on our path to a higher dimension of consciousness; it helps us not to take things so personally, to recognize that we're part of a much larger flow of life. And it prepares us for the next step, which is to realize that we are to create the “new things” we wish to experience.

Rev. Ed