I guess I’m getting older and turning more attention to my inevitable demise from this physical body. Maybe I’m getting a little morbid! I don’t know. But the reality of “dust to dust, and ashes to 06 rope jumpersashes” has been a primary theme of Ecclesiastes. It even uses the phrase in Ecclesiastes 3:20, which says, “All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” It is referring to both man and animals. As we all know, everything that has ever lived has died. It spoke about the vanity of vanities regarding the injustice of it all. The wise man and the fool both die! The wealthy man and the poor man both die. The productive man and the lazy man both die! Now, in this verse, the comparison turns to man and animals and the conclusion is the same; both die!

Ring around the rosie pocket full of posies, ashes! Ashes! We all fall down. As a kid I can remember my sister singing that song also while her and her two girlfriends jumped rope on Himebaugh Avenue in front of our house in north Omaha. Marilyn and Patricia would each hold one end of a long rope and swing it around and around and Rita, my sister, would jump the rope. The rope swingers would sing this song until Rita missed. The problem was Rita was an excellent jumper and almost never missed. Butch, my friend, and I would shout at them, “shut up!” It got so annoying to hear that little ditty over and over again! The Grim Reaper will come for us all. I remember another children’s verse we used to say; “One two, buckle my shoe, three four, close the door, five six, pick-up sticks…” You might remember it. The Nightmare on Elm Street movies changed that and used it as Freddy Krueger’s theme song. It went, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three four, better lock the door. Five six, grab a crucifix, Seven eight, better stay up late. Nine ten, never sleep again.” It is sung by little children dressed in white party clothes jump-roping who are presumed to be the past victims of Freddy in his former life. Freddie Krueger might be a good analogy for what’s been called the Grim Reaper. The scriptures teach us that he will come for us all sooner or later.

At the end of Phil Ryken’s commentary on this section he asks, “What is your response to the certainty of your own mortality? The approach taken by one order of Trappist monks is worthy of emulation. Together they dig a grave. Every day they go out to the grave site, peer over the edge, and ponder their own mortality. When one of their number dies, they lower him into the grave and cover him with dirt. Then they dig a new grave and start the ritual all over again, never knowing for certain who will be the next to die.” Neither the Grim Reaper nor Freddie Kruger worries me! I know someone who’s gone on before me and promised to prepare a place for me and take me to be with Him forever. (See John 14)