Last week's sermon was, "Lent is about wastefulness."
That got everyone's attention. It was an encouraging sermon about enjoying God in lavish, even wasteful ways as Mary did when she poured out $15,000 worth of oil on Jesus' feet. Judas pointed out, as we might have done, that it could have been given to the poor. Rather than agree with Judas, Jesus commended Mary.
This lovely sunny, breezy SoCal Saturday morning, I sat down to read a bit. I pulled "Angels in the Architecture" off my shelf and opened to the chapter "Worshiping With Body". I will close here with the first few paragraphs of the chapter.
We so often lead lives forgetful of the fact that our God is very shocking. Amidst all our fragile piety and devouring busyness, we have a Lord who steps in and COMMANDS us such things as, "Thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever they soul desireth; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household". (Deut, 15:26) Such unthriftiness. Such waste. Such gluttony. Such winebibbing. Such is a command of our Holy God.
For some reason foreign to our modern ears, God tell us that celebration is central to pleasing Him; it is central to leading a good life. Modern American life has no time for serious celebrations as did life in centuries past. We've got work to do; projects and deadlines press us. And yet for all our industrial-strength pragmatism, few if any truly important things get accomplished. We have forgotten that celebration isn't just an option; it's a call to full Christian living.
Celebration is worshiping God with our bodies, with the material creation He has set up around us. Celebration - whether in feasts, ceremonies, holidays, formal worship, or lovemaking - are all part of obeying God's command to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength" (Deut. 6:5; Mk. 12:30). We are to show our love for God not just with one portion of our being (the spiritual aspect); we are to love God with our whole body, heart and strength and legs and lips.
Complaint is the flag of ingratitude, and it waves above the center of unbelieving hearts - "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful" (Rom. 1:21). Yet by grace, God's redemption and creation ought to keep us in a perpetual state of thanks which bursts out in celebration at every opportunity.
He depicts this redemption not in terms of intellectual satisfaction or quiet piety but in terms of an extravagant feast: "And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (Is. 25:6) - choice pieces, well--refined wines and fat things!! - all the blessings which anemic moderns say we shouldn't have. Redemption doesn't appear to be a low-cal, cholesterol-free affair.
Douglas Jones, p. 79, 80