From the PBS special “The Blues”:
On a lonely night in 1903, W.C. Handy, the African American leader of a dance orchestra, got stuck waiting for a train in the hamlet of Tutwiler, Mississippi. With hours to kill and nowhere else to go, Handy fell asleep on a hard wooden bench at the empty depot. When he awoke, a ragged black man was sitting next to him, singing about “goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog” and sliding a knife against the strings of a guitar. The musician repeated the line three times and answered with his instrument.
Intrigued, Handy asked what the line meant. It turned out that the tracks of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, which locals called the Yellow Dog, crossed the tracks of the Southern Railroad in the town of Moorehead, where the musician was headed, and he’d put it into a song.
It was, Handy later said, “the weirdest music I had ever heard.”
Readers of the Bible might have a similar experience when they come across Ecclesiastes. Solomon definitely sounds a blue note, but what’s the effect?
I believe as we chase down the the themes of futility with Solomon’s guidance, we’ll also chase away the illusions that alienate us from God.
Life is hard to handle and impossible to hold. Let’s let the book of Ecclesiastes counteract the youthful folly that there’s meaning in life, AND maturity’s cynicism that says because there’s no inherent meaning, there can be no joy!
Chasin’ the Blues (1:1-11) Eccl1.1-11
LIfe’s Grand Buffet (1:12-2:26) Eccl1.12-2.26
Solomon’s Billboard #1 (3:1-15) Eccl3.1-15
Bite Your Tongue (3:16-5:7) Eccl3.16-5.7
Follow the Money (5:8-20 Eccl5.8-20
If You Know What’s Good For You (6:1-7:14) Eccl6-7.14
What You’ve Got Comin’ (7:15-29) Eccl7.15-29
“Da Man” Bringin’ You Down? (8:1-17) Eccl8
If I’d Only Known (9) Eccl9
What a Fool Believes, He Sees (10) Eccl10
Intrepid? or Intimidated? (11:1-6) Eccl11.1-6
Joie De Vivre (11:7-12:7) Eccl11.7-12.7