Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Weight of Glory...

We are far too easily pleased...

Perhaps the most famous legacy Henry David Thoreau left us was a work described as "Walden". The name of the book comes from a pond near his makeshift home, which was fixed aptly on the property of the well known author and life long companion, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau utilized the home as an escape for the less than ideal world he found himself in. In "Walden" Thoreau rebukes and mourns over the dreariness that has befallen upon our existence. The biblical parallels that he addresses would likely astound and comfort these pains of dissastification. He pities the fact that all over our world men and women have devoted themselves to works and toils that numb themselves to truly living. 

Come, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
  come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live...  -Isaiah 55:1-3

Thoreau missed it, he called out for the people to reconcile with nature, not with their maker. He simply took one numbing fixation and replaced it with another. This as 18th century Puritan minister  Solomon Stoddard nobly proclaimed doing so "does them little good, for it simply draws them from the snare and leads them to the pit".

  The only fixation of which the objects fixed upon it shall find any rest, peace, or satisfaction would have to be one that has not fallen victim to the depravity that the aforementioned objects have. Reasonably there is only one infatuation, passion, and compulsion that is worth having. The infinitely sovereign maker and sustainer of all things.

Such a reality aligns wonderfully with C.S. lewis take on the discontent of man in his work "The Weight of Glory":
"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, then I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith..."

Lewis attacks the idea that joy, hope, pleasure is a terrible thing, pointing out that our joy in truth is not only
the desire of God for his people, but his commands (Phillipians 3)
 
Lewis continues: "it would seem that our Lord finds our desires (for joy, pleasure, happiness) not to strong, 
but to weak. We are half-hearted creatures fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is 
offered to us, like an ignorant child who want to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine 
what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased".

But the human condition is not familiar with such an idea. We are quick to declare our disgust and discontent
with the creator of all things, expressing aggravation for not being satisfied with the trivial gifts that are mere expressions of his presence. 
Often times this disgust and aggravation leads to the remission and denial of even an existence of a sovereign 
presence in the universe.

The Gospel of Luke chapter 19 tells a story where Jesus is drawing near to the city and begins weeping 
over it, weeping over their inability to understand and their satisfaction with religion and the idolatry it has brought.
Perhaps such weeping continues as mankind continues to be content and satisfied with creation rather than
the creator.

We continue to savor dreams, selfish ambitions, wealth, comfort, 2 kids, a wife, and a two story home 
with a labrador, money, fame, prowess... Oh Lord help us, even in our purest desires we idolize treasures that 
are transient in the scope of true and abundant life...

Forgive us Lord, We really are Far too Easily Pleased...






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