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  • Writer's pictureSew for Christ

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14 - Eternal Kingdom

This small embroidery project is a leaf of Lórien, a motif from The Lord of the Rings books and movie trilogy. The specific design is based on the broach design in the movies.

For those who aren't familiar with Tolkien's work, the broach is based off of the leaves from trees from a specific place called Lothlórien. This tree is called a mallorn tree, which in turn is based off of the beech tree. Both types of trees have an important characteristic. The leaves turn gold in the fall but don't fall off the branches like other leaves do. Beech trees can often still have their dried leaves until the spring. Mallorn trees push off their leaves with flower buds in the spring. The tree is never left bare in the winter, giving it an eternal quality. It reminds me of this verse:

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Moreover, He has set eternity in their heart—yet without the possibility that humankind can ever discover the work that G-d has done from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11 TLV)

This chapter of Ecclesiastes start off with the famous verses, "for everything there is a season," (v. 1) and a long list of contrasting times, such as "a time to tear down and a time to build up," (v. 3). Verse 11 first reiterates this point, that each time is not only distinct but has its own beauty. Indeed, the beauty is present because it is in the ordained time. The beautiful foliage of autumn is the appointed time for the leaves to die and fall off. The tree is then not in its time, and stays bare, typically considered less beautiful.

The beech, and mallorn, tree match far better with the second part of this verse. It says that G-d has set eternity in their heart, but that we humans cannot comprehend the pure magnitude of eternity. The rest of the section goes to explain that we can and should rejoice in the small section of eternity that we can understand.

Our understanding is like the fall colors of maple, oak, and other deciduous trees not mentioned. There is an entire life cycle in the grand ecosystem of the forest that we cannot comprehend. We know it exists, but we were made to relish in the small temporary state that we do experience. However, G-d's kingdom is eternal with the full understanding of eternity. Its leaves do not fall and the branches are never bare. We see this explained in verse 14:

"I know that everything that G-d does will endure forever. There is no adding to it or taking from it. G-d has made it so, that they will revere Him." (Ecclesiates 3:14 TLV)

He is L-rd, ruler of the temporary and the permanent. Our lives are falling leaves in the entire story of an aged forest. Each small time and season is part of His eternal plan for the world, beautiful in its own time, worthy of rejoicing and enjoying what He gives us.

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