Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us. (Ecc 1:10)
The writer of Ecclesiastes begins to evaluate life to find meaning. It’s a heady look at life. On the pages of his evaluation, he makes some statements that have significant meaning on their own. This is one of them. There is nothing new, “it has been already in the ages before us.”
I remember as a teenager having a hard time talking with my parents, or anyone their age for that matter, because I just knew they couldn’t understand what I was going through. They had never been in my situation so how could they? I know they said they had been a teenager before but in my mind, life was different back in “their day.” The underlying assumption that I made was that my situation in my time was something new. No one could understand it. Now I realize that this was a foolish way of thinking. The particulars of a situation may vary, but not the human emotion that they evoke. “It has already been in the ages before us.” Somehow, I need to communicate this truth to my children so that they will know they have advocates in their parents, who understand more than they realize…
On another note, this idea of “newness” impacts the larger cultural story as people look with panic at our country and its state. “We’ve never been here before!” That may be true but that is not to say that history hasn’t seen our “state” before. We would be wise to look at the pages of history to better understand where we are headed…