Wet blanket piety - Hope 103.2

Wet blanket piety

By David ReayThursday 22 Aug 2013LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Isaiah 55:1-2

1 Ho,everyone who thirsts,
      come to the waters;
    and you that have no money,
      come,buy and eat!
    Come,buy wine and milk
       without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
       and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
    Listen carefully to me,and eat what is good,
       and delight yourselves in rich food. (NRSV)

Why is it that very few portraits of Christians in movies or TV series show them as actually enjoying life? They are usually presented as stern,forbidding people forever pursing their lips at the world beyond their own narrow focus. If anything looks remotely enjoyable,it is frowningly disapproved of.

The reason for such portrayals is that there is some truth to it. Sadly,some Christians seem to look at life with a sour negativity. We are well-known for what we disagree with rather than what we espouse. One writer wrote of her father who was a distinguished elder in his church that “He was entirely unselfish,and throughout his whole life did not commit one pleasure.”

We can be rightly known as being morally upright,and hopefully known for our unselfishness. But this need not be a grim affair. Isaiah tells us that as we come to relate to our God we come to feast at a banquet. We delight in what he has for us. Which is far removed from the pleasure-denying,suffocating narrowness of what passes for Christian piety.

True,not all worldly pleasures are worthy of approval. But let’s admit there is more than enough genuine and godly pleasure to go around. And so we can avoid being religious wet blankets squeezing the gladness out of life as we wait in sombre steadfastness for the purer pleasures of heaven. Delight need not be delayed.

David Reay