Hearing echoes of Ecclesiastes in Maggie Rogers.

Or, Between the Straining and the Return.

I think Burning by Maggie Rogers might be my favorite song of all time.

“I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine…” Eccl 2:3

I’ve been reading a lot of Ecclesiastes recently.

In that Maggie Rogers song,

“I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.” Eccl 2:4

In addition to all he says about vanity, Qoheleth also says the following;

“Go, eat your bread with enjoyment and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the [spouse] whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun….” (Eccl 9:7–10)

“Rejoice, young [one], while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes…Banish anxiety from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.” (11:9–10)

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity.” Eccl 2:11

I love a song that sounds better slowed down.

“The Love of God is the second verse of a song, where the guitar sings a duet with the vocalist, and as they strain into their upper register, we beg for a return to the home note. In between these two notes, the music stretches out, and time slows down, and the bass seems to be made of molasses, and you and I can sit for all our lives in the space between the straining and the return. Home.”

“In reality, all is vanity. In truth, everything is a gift of God.”

A day of vanity, and a gift from God.

In his memoir Scary Close,

Then, in the midst of this strange, chaotic season, lets all sit in the space between the straining and the return with one another.

Writer. Teacher. Pastor. Interpreter of strange times, and aspiring polymath.

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