by Eudonte Gnomie
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
- Enjoying creation is not being lazy -I have two topics for today, only I've forgotten what one of them is and the paper I was reading is at home. I am not, so I'll have to think further on this one later tonight. [Note: I still cannot remember what this was. Maybe I'll post on it some day. -jb 7/5/02]
I was talking with a friend not too long ago about my mild love of grocery stores. When I was living in Asheville, I would head over to the Fresh Market when I had a stressful day and wander around for a while before heading home. I never really bought much because it was a little expensive - maybe just one or two small items (like a pain-au-chocolat) - but just being there was soothing. They had classical music being playing throughout the store. The floor was made of wood, so it felt historical even if it wasn't. They had all the foods that reminded me of the time I spent overseas. Plus, they had free coffee.
My friend then replied (and I hope that I am paraphrasing her correctly) that this made sense because at this store one could see all the bounty and goodness that God has provided for us to enjoy. I have been thinking about this over the last several days since I have never really thought about simple pleasures in this fashion. It makes sense though. The Fresh Market was pleasing to the ears, the eyes, the nose, the mind and sometimes even the mouth. When I'm stressed I forget that there are good things to enjoy - I just get wrapped up in my own business and I need to be reminded to look outside of myself.
This was reinforced last night as I was reading in Horton's Putting Amazing Back into Grace. As he is talking about the purpose of our creation, he lingers for a moment on the purpose of pleasure.
To the question, "What is the chef end of man?" the Westminster Shorter Catechism leads off with its famous answer: "To glorify God and to enjoy him forever." What a loaded sentence! There is a sense, then, in which we were created in order to take pleasure in God as well as his taking pleasure in us. In face, it is the purpose of earthly pleasures and joys to raise our senses to the enjoyment of God. This means that as long as our pleasure-seeking is calculated to be, in the end, a form of God-seeking, it is an acceptable and, in fact, godly pursuit. Imagine the implications of this sort of thinking! We see it throughout the Old Testament, in their history of a life-loving and world-embracing people who, at their best, squeezed the juice out of life's every grape in order to participate in the fullness of "enjoying God forever." It is the story of a man, God in the flesh, who not only saw fit to bless the union of a husband and wife, but also provided a miraculous vintage of wine to celebrate the occasion. No one can appreciate the Hebrew/Christian understanding of creation and remain insensitive to its world affirming character. 
I need to revamp the way I view life's pleasures. I can get lost in duty or just doing that I forget to enjoy things, but more importantly I need to remember why these pleasures exist. It is good to feast - whether with our eyes, ears, or mouth. Enjoying creation is not being lazy. Enjoying work is not merely playing while others do the hard stuff. I need to remember this. We were made to enjoy life and all its pleasures - but we are too enjoy them remembering the One who gave them to us to enjoy in the first place. We are not autonomous - we are dependant whether we want to be or not - but we are also deeply, and inconceivably, loved.
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Sunday, July 07, 2002
- Thus says the LORD -
"Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit."
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