Mourning at birth and rejoicing in death
Ecclesiastes 7:1 -2, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men: and the living will lay it to his heart.”
Biblical scholars say that at the time the book of Ecclesiastes was written, Solomon was in a very dark emotional place and the words he documented carry heavy meanings that are interpreted differently by many.
Take, for example, the belief that one should weep at the birthing of a baby and rejoice when one dies. Is there a logic behind it?
Pastor of the Bog Walk District of Seventh-day Adventist Churches, Dean Thompson, says yes.
“If you had a good reputation when you die, there is no changing it. When a baby is born no one knows how this baby is going to turn out, no one knows who they’ll grow up to be.”
He added: “We have to face the reality that some day we may die and we should live our lives in such a way that a good record is left behind … in death one is free from the troubles of the earth and at birth one is entering a world of sin”.
Thompson quickly explained that this doesn’t mean that one should not be happy when a new life comes into the world. He, however, said the child must be raised to know the one true God.
“Christening a child is not where it ends. You must grow that child with the consciousness of God. Many children have not been to church since the day of their christening, and that should not be. Some of these same children grow up to be adults who only visit church when there is a funeral.”
Expounding on the point made, Thompson added that some persons are not aware that there is a spiritual warfare on earth and children should be covered under prayer.
Thompson also added that while persons may weep for one that has lived a God-fearing life, because it is the humanly thing to do when we miss a loved one, they won’t weep as one with no hope.
He said there will be rejoicing in their hearts for the day they will meet their loved one again.
“Then there are those who weep not only because they miss their loved ones, but also because they are wondering about the state of the soul. Solomon ends by saying, “This is the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God because he knows a life without God is no life at all. One should mourn for life coming into the world that will not know God, and should rejoice for a soul leaving this earth that has known and worshipped God.”