Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Taste and see...."

At Christianity Today, Agnieszka Tennant celebrates ordinary delights:
There are no ordinary pleasures.

Every good thing, no matter how trivial, can elicit delight. And delight is potent. Something of little significance provokes glee, and the spirit leaps. If you pay attention - and if you count all good things as coming from God - then the mundane can help you glimpse the maker of all delight.

Momentous thrills - a wedding day, the birth of a child, reconciliation between hardened enemies, and a stunning answer to prayer when you're low on hope - point to God more noticeably. So do tragedies, mistakes, and sins. But I'm talking about delights that we encounter more frequently, those we have at our disposal and to which we have become accustomed - the terrain of the trivial, the minor, the normal, the everyday, the routine, even the boring. They, too, reside in the realm of providence. ....

"Love, and do as you please," said Augustine in a sermon on 1 John 7, 8. Folded into this advice is an implicit warning against addiction: You are not free to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind when you're owned by pleasure. But when you experience enjoyment within the constraint of loving God, it can only be good.

Besides being enjoyable, everyday pleasures can be useful. During those darker times when I cannot bring myself to face God, I still cannot turn off delight. I am stuck with goodness. Sometimes, it seems as though all I have to hold on to is one small enjoyment. Something feels good, and no one can take it from me - sun rays on my face, a toddler's hand in mine, managing to tell the truth, a shower, a day without a headache, the five minutes I spend reading an article in The Economist that makes my world both stranger and easier to grasp.

On those unguarded occasions when I can taste, see, feel, smell, and know that, in Gerard Manley Hopkins's words, "the world is charged with the grandeur of God," I revel a little. I notice. Something must have propelled the sun from behind the clouds. Some power must have suspended it in just the right spot.

Suddenly, without putting much thought into it, I find myself saying thank you. A lungful of marvel becomes a prayer of gratitude. Supposedly ordinary acts turn sacramental, with no effort on my part.

This, too, is worship: to receive all good things and to bow our heads in the knowledge that they come from God. To take whatever is lovely, splendid, pure, noble, and true—and to follow where it leads. To taste and see that the Lord is good.
Source: Ordinary' Delights | Christianity Today