I’ve greatly enjoyed the last few weeks, feeding my body and soul, exercising my mind, exorcising my demons. I consider my tendency towards hedonism, and the scripture of John 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
I do love life. I see beauty all around me, always seeing the flower in the weeds, or growing through the cobblestones.
I enjoy fine wines, fine foods, well crafted beers, warm sunny days and the company of friends. I enjoy fine arts and street art, and the odd accidental composition.
My error, of course, had been context. The scripture refers to the metamorphosis of life on Earth to spiritual life. I love life on Earth, but I have no desire to hold onto it for one second longer than I required. One has only to look at the previous verse “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.“, to understand.
Earlier in the chapter, verses three through eight, actually speak to enjoying the senses. “3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”
When my grandmother died, we gathered at my grandfather’s home for the weekend. He had been filling in the bank, where there had been some erosion, and there was a pile of rocks that had been delivered. A group of us walked down to the bank to do the work for him. My grandfather, ninety two at the time, said to us “Come inside, leave that for me. Next week, you will all have gone home, and I’ll have nothing to do”. He was a very wise man. He died three years later, almost to the day, and never stopped enjoying life and his family.
I cannot believe we have been given these bodies and minds in order to deprive ourselves of the pleasure they are capable of experiencing. Neither do I understand other Christians who fear death or Armageddon, as both are part of God’s plan.
It is certainly our duty to strive to assist those not as well off, but doing so by denying ourselves is not the path. Equal joy is the goal, not equal suffering.