Christian Hedonism -- looking at the flip side
A few days ago, I posted a discussion on Christian Hedonism or less provocatively, the ideal of enjoying the life that God has given us. Why is that hard to carry forth consistently?
The reality of suffering makes it seem pie in the sky.
Would anyone dispute the reality of suffering described in the lyrics of the first and last tracks of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana?
Denial of suffering would be equally theologically untenable as the denial of the goodness and rightness of enjoyment.
One of my pastor friends who liked the phrase Theology of Play described our life on this earth as being proleptic: the Kingdom of God is here but not fully here; we know in part but later we will experience in full.
Suffering and enjoyment co-exist now. The God of Playful and Joyful Creativity walks the Garden of Genesis. And that same God is here today if we are willing to look.
Well, guess what? That same God is the Suffering Savior of the Cross.
Thus for those who suffer today, God is aquainted intimately with that pain and will aleviated it fully when His Kingdom comes in full.
But what about NOW? We who call ourselves Christians must help bear the burden of our fellow man because that is what Jesus did when He was on this earth. And part of bearing that burden will be to share the enjoyment that God gives to us because that testifies to the reality that enjoyment still exists even in a fallen world and is a pre-echo of what will be when His Kingdom comes in full.