Thursday, May 12, 2005

Enjoyment as an Expression of Worship

The other day I read a most excellent post on Carolyn Arend's blog about laughter as a form or worship. It was really very good, and if you haven't read it, I'd suggest you go and check out her blog right now! Then, yesterday as I checked out the Blog-Father's blog, I came across a link to this article which to me is related to Carolyn's post and also quite profound in its own right.

It is funny how when I think of doing something for my own enjoyment I feel like I'm being selfish and immediately lists of things I must do and causes I must fight pop up in my mind. Perhaps that is what the enemy would like me to think...would like us all to think, when, in reality, God would be delighted to see me (to see us all) forget ourselves (our agendas and to-do lists, etc.) and enjoy life, and in doing so, lose ourselves in worship.

Here are some excerpts to illustrate what I think is the point:

"I advise enjoyment. Whereas Jesus said, “If any come after me, let them deny themselves.” Am I preaching heresy? I do not think so. What does deny yourself mean? It seems to me that it speaks of getting off the throne on which I am so prone to perch and let God get back on. It seems to me, that to deny myself means that I need to forget myself – at least a bit! That I remember that he is the saviour; I am not! He wants my co-operation; not my substitution of myself for him. "


"In Poverbs 8, Wisdom is described as being present when God was creating the universe in a spirit of play! Ponder that. Play comes naturally to the child. We may have to relearn it. Observe a child at play: What absorption! Are the child’s thoughts on him/herself? Of course not; the child is totally concentrated on the toy, the insect, the piece of string that is the object of his/her delight. My image of true Christian enjoyment is that of a child on the floor, paying no attention to his/her parents whatsoever, playing with what has caught his/her attention for the moment. The parents do not feel slighted because the child is paying no attention to them; they are delighting in their little one’s delight. But let them leave the room and play disappears in howls for father and mother.

This is a kind of parable for what we need: we can play before God only if, like the child on the floor, we allow ourselves to be secure in God’s love. After all, the distinguishing mark of Christian prayer is that we can call God “Abba.” Basic then to the spirit of play for us is trust in God, in God’s saving love, in God’s unconditioned, unconditional, steadfast love for us. “While we were yet sinners, God sent God’s only Son.” God loves us not because we deserve to be loved, not because we are good; but quite simply because God is good."


"Do we not indeed have to give thought to how we can recapture our ability to enjoy? Joy is not possible without love. One who loves nothing and nobody cannot possibly rejoice, no matter how desperately one craves joy. When we take joy in something, we are saying that it is good. Is not that what God said in face of God’s creation? When we affirm any part of life, we are really affirming life itself. We are saying with our hearts: “Yes, life is good!” Is this not worship? To recognize that the works of God’s hands are good?"

(All quotes come from Sr. Olga Warnke, I.B.V.M.)

...There's a lot more to the some great stuff about the Sabbath, but I'm going to stop there, so go read the article for yourself and let me know what you think:)

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