Devouring Life (aka, Life’s a Peach)
October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Recently Katherine and I spent a morning picking peaches in an orchard not far from where we live. It was a new experience for me. My orientation is more along the lines of watching NFL teams pick draft choices. The idea of going out to get one’s food from somewhere other than the grocery store is novel. But there we were, and we got a bunch.
As a result, Katherine made a delicious pie with some of the bounty, and then a few weeks later I ate one of the peaches I brought to the office, for lunch (pictured above). Somehow that seemed to fit into the old hunting adage, ‘If you kill it, you eat it.’
Before the fall, and since, God’s intention is that we devour life – just take it all in, in all its intended and redeemed beauty: Marriage – Friendships – Work – Art – Music – Movies – Love – Cities – the Senses – Athleticism. You name it, the list is enormous and stretches in every direction.
Sadly, and unfortunately, in some ways the Church has often gotten this wrong, even backwards. An oft too experienced reaction has been for the Church to withdraw and insulate itself from ‘the world,’ and then further restrict Christ-followers rather than launch them into the culture as liberated beings that are called to model a redeemed world and life. It follows a formula of separating between the ‘secular’ and the ‘sacred,’ and always involves people who somehow are deemed with the ability to rise above it all and determine what we should do and not do, what is questionable and not questionable, where we should go and not go, what we should listen to and not listen to, and what movies we can see and not see. All along creating a culture of fear and joylessness.
Little is more oppressive and unchristian than people and groups that dictate out of their own fears, and who define and value people by their own insecurities.
It robs God of the joy He receives when we take in all that He has created. It deprives people of experiencing the majesty of His rule and reign in all things and over all things. In more theological terms, frankly, it just stinks!
But Jesus’ earthly ministry was demonstrative of freedom, often to the repulsion of the religious elite of His day. And the Apostle Paul affirms, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
Let me tell you, it is risky and terrifying to be so free. Being free can lead to all kinds of unsafe things like, unbridled joy, heart-strengthening sorrow, and the kind of character-building that only comes from making mistakes and being wildly imperfect. But being so free is the best kind of dangerous, because it is what we were created for. So God says, ‘Eat!’ Take it in! Devour it all! Or, to quote the Allman Brothers, ‘Eat a Peach!’
Friends, the Gospel is delicious. What good news…