In the midst of our pursuit of God, we can sometimes focus so much on the seriousness of discipleship that we miss out on the joy of our life with God. For me personally, there are times when I emphasize the challenges or trials on this earth to the point that I ignore or unwittingly downplay the gracious gift of our joyful life with God.
Of course, it is true that we are citizens of a heavenly home, who are, in a sense, just passing through this land of earth for a limited time. The writer of Hebrews makes this clear as he rehearses the faith-filled pursuers of God in the Bible. We read:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)
Our sense of displacement is an unavoidable aspect of our life on earth. As the old song says: “I am a pilgrim and a stranger traveling through this wearisome land.”
Yet it is also true that God is the creator of joy, who longs Read More »
I do not think that the life of Heaven bears any analogy to play or dance in respect of frivolity. I do think that while we are in this ‘valley of tears,’ cursed with labour, hemmed round with necessities, tripped up with frustrations, doomed to perpetual plannings, puzzlings, and anxieties, certain qualities that must belong to the celestial condition have no chance to get through, can project no image of themselves, except in activities which, for us here and now, are frivolous.
For surely we must suppose the life of the blessed to be an end in itself, indeed The End: to be utterly spontaneous; to be the complete reconciliation of boundless freedom with order–with the most delicately adjusted, supple, intricate, and beautiful order?
How can you find any image of this in the ‘serious’ activities either of our natural or of our (present) spiritual life? Either in our precarious and heart-broken affections or in the Way which is always, in some degree, a via crucis?
No, Malcolm. It is only in our ‘hours-off,’ only in our moments of permitted festivity, that we find an analogy. Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we were place here to live.
But in this world everything is upside down. That which , if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven.
– C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harvest, 1964), 92-93.
As we continued our series, “Name Above All Names,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, I looked at one of Jesus’ most revered titles: Son of God. With roots in the promises to Abraham and David, Jesus’ identity as the Son of God stretches all the way before Creation and speaks of His unique relationship with God the Father and way of living upon earth.
We bless Thee, O most high God and Lord of mercy,
Who art ever doing numberless great and inscrutable things with us,
glorious and wonderful;
Who grantest to us sleep for rest from our infirmities,
and repose from the burdens of our much toiling flesh.
We thank Thee that Thou hast not destroyed us with our sins,
but hast loved us as ever,
and though we are sunk in despair,
Thou hast raised us up to glorify Thy power.
Therefore we implore Thy incomparable goodness,
enlighten the eyes of our understanding
and raise up our mind from the heavy sleep of indolence;
open our mouth and fill it with Thy praise,
that we may be able undistracted to sing and confess Thee,
Who art God glorified in all and by all,
the eternal Father, with Thy only-begotten Son,
and Thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit,
now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
By St. Basil the Great, 4th century Bishop of Caesarea and defender of the faith.