IT’S ALMOST TOO LATE
5 People should remember him before they get afraid of a high place and of scary things on the road; before the almond tree blossoms, before the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caper berry does nothing. Because the man is walking to his permanent house while mourners surround him in the street. 6 Remember Him before the silver cord gets severed and the golden bowl crushed, the pitcher by the well gets shattered and the wheel at the cistern crushed; because 7 then the dust will return to the ground like it was before, and the breath will return to God who gave it. 8 “Completely impermanent,” says the Collector, “everything is impermanent!”
remember him before
Solomon concludes his allegory describing old age and its consequences. He had first outlined the loss of personal pleasures because of the parts of the body failing (1-4). Now he describes the emotional and psychological changes that can occur with aging, including phobias, lethargy, and loss of sexual desire (capers were used as an aphrodisiac). Basically, Solomon describes an old man as if he is a dead man walking to his own funeral, trading his temporary house for a permanent one: the grave. His friends are just mourners walking along with him.
Solomon’s point is simple. Do not wait until you are half dead to remember the one who gave you life in the first place. That life is a gift. You should appreciate the giver while you are enjoying the gift. Remember him before. The world needs young people who love and respect and obey the one who created them.
LORD, forgive those of us who have waited almost too long to remember you. Show us how to reach the next generation, and instil in them the love and respect and obedience that you deserve.