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Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church Under The Sun #1 (Ecclesiastes): Dust In The Wind To hear this message and others download our free app at The App Store. Search The Gathering Connect.
Dust In The Wind (The song and its writer)
“Dust in the Wind” is a song by the rock band Kansas, written by band member Kerry Livgren and released on their 1977 album “Point of Know Return.” This was the first acoustic Kansas song and one that Livgren actually fought with the band over not to include on their album. Of the song he said: “people seemed to identify with what I said in that song – and that really surprised me. Cause in a way, that’s kind of a dismal song, you know?”
Originally Livgren created the melody of the song as a practice scale for finger picking but his wife insisted that she liked the sound and he should use it in a song. One day Livgren was reading a book on American Indian poetry when he came across the line ”for all we are is dust in the wind” and that line made him think. Regardless of everything—one day he would die. In a 1992 interview Livgren said of the song: “well, you know, that’s really true. Here I got all this success – I’ve got material possessions – I’ve got a goal in my life that had been accomplished at that point, but I’m going back into the ground – and what does this really mean in light of that? This is the message of that song, but the amazing thing was that so many people identified with that”.
The song identified with so many people that it became the band’s biggest hit ever and crossed over to a variety of radio stations that played rock, country, and adult contemporary music. It remains one of the most famous acoustic rock songs ever recorded.
Kerry Livgren would go on to write songs that searched out life’s meaning which eventually led him to Christ in 1979, to create a solo album of his faith in 1980 (Seeds Of Change”) and to leave the band Kansas in 1983 to began a band called A.D. (83-88) that better expressed his faith. From 1989-2000 Livgren did solo projects and then began another band called Proto-ka in 2003. Livgren has lived a life of faith with his wife Vicci (1975-present), fathered two children, runs a farm in Kansas, teaches Bible study at his church, runs a studio and record label , makes music with his band and shares Christ, but he is no stranger to heartache and pain. His wife suffered a head injury in 1998 and he suffered a massive stroke in 2009 which wiped out his ability to play the guitar and keyboards or even remember concepts of his faith. Weeks after Livgren’s stroke Vicci fell and broke her back. Years later she was diagnosed with cancer. In 2018 Vicci survived cancer and in November of last year Livgren announced that he was putting the finishing touches on his soon to be released album Cantata (The Resurrection Of Lazarus). It is an album of faith that includes many different artists and has been over 20 years in the making. Pray that Kerry will finish it soon and tell the world his story of faith once again through music and song. His legacy is truly more than “dust in the wind”. He has prepared many for an eternity with Christ.
Ecclesiastes (The song and its writer) 1 Kings 3:5-15a, Matthew 7:13-14
The line “for all we are is dust in the wind” could have just as well come from the Bible out of king Solomon’s writings in the book of Ecclesiastes. In fact this is the key reflection of Solomon throughout the book that we will be studying in the weeks ahead.
Solomon was the third and last king of the united kingdom of Israel, following King Saul and King David. He was the son of David and Bathsheba, the former wife of Uriah the Hittite whom David had killed to hide his adultery with Bathsheba while her husband was on the battle front. Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and much of the book of Proverbs. When Solomon ascended to the throne, he sought after God, and God gave him opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly acknowledged his inability to rule well and unselfishly asked God for the wisdom he would need to rule God’s people justly. God gave him wisdom and wealth besides (1 Kings 3:4–15; 10:27). In fact, “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23). God also gave Solomon peace on all sides during most of his reign (1 Kings 4:20–25). Solomon wrote many proverbs and songs (1 Kings 4:32) and completed many building projects (1 Kings 7:1–12; 9:15–23). Solomon also built a fleet of ships and acquired tons of gold from Ophir with Hiram, king of Tyre, as a partner (1 Kings 9:26–28; 10:11, 22). Solomon’s most important building project was completing the Jewish temple with the instructions and provisions of his father, David (1 Kings 6; 1 Chronicles 22).
In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon introduces himself as “the Teacher”. He does this with hopes to impart wisdom to those in the future who read the lessons in this book. His lessons are compiled from his own life experiences and reflections. For being such a “wise and discerning king” Solomon sure made a lot of mistakes. It must be noted that all of the life experiences and conclusions he shares in the book are not necessarily godly or wise; however, Solomon’s final conclusion in the book is. We will learn more about Solomon and his life choices as we progress through this study, but it will suffice for now to say that Kerry Livgren did better than Solomon with the epiphanies provided them. We can constantly look, as Solomon did, to find “something new under the sun” (in search for that “missing piece”) or find meaning in life by following Christ. In this poetic book, written long ago by Solomon, we will look at both the broad way and the narrow way of life (Matthew 7:13-14) and come to a conclusion on the matter.
Meaningless Ecclesiastes 1:1-18, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Peter 1:18-25, John 1:10-13
As Solomon begins his poetic book he notices that just as water continually flows into the sea, which is never full, so are people never full of all they pour into their lives. There is “nothing new under the sun”. What appears new today has only been re-branded from the past (Hold onto those old clothes and shoes. Fashions will return!). Solomon also points out that no one remembers former generations (note how we repeat mistakes throughout history for sake of forgetting the past). He also points out that the wiser you are the more sorrow you will have. Why? Because…most people are stupid and do stupid things and that is disheartening to say the least. No wonder Jesus calls us his “sheep”. John 10:27-28
Is all of this true? Of course it is. If you are looking for life’s meaning in worldly things you will be left wanting every time (you will never be full). The world and its desires are passing away (1 John 2:17), but God’s word lasts forever and this is the word that was preached to us (1 Peter 1:25) by Jesus. He came so that any who would receive would become eternal “children of God” and no longer only “dust in the wind”.