I want to tell you why you and I were made. At least why I think we were made.
He’s a Christian, you’ll say. Love, he’ll say, though maybe he’ll take the scenic route and drive slow before arriving.
And in some ways I won’t dispute the claim. And in another, I’ll tell you that love is a word so battered and bandied about that it’s a hollow shell of what it could mean.
And God saw that it was good. [Genesis 1]
Hm, so here’s the refrain of the creation story. Let there be light and dark, sea and soil, brook and blackberry bush. OK, OK: this is familiar. I know this story, I have heard this story, I am bored by this story.
But my point in recounting the tired and boring story is how it occurred to me that God doesn’t seem to find the creativity thing very tiring or very boring. It seems, actually, like God is having a freaking ball, savoring the world God is making the same way that you and I enjoy expensive food.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth… be intoxicated always in her love. [proverbs 5:18-20]
Well, so the theme continues.
[That passage, for being in the Bible, manages to say some pretty illicit things. Again, Proverbs 5:18-20. You’re welcome.]
Yes, the full-throated calls to severe commitment and sacrifice are still around in plain sight, and I won’t try to hide them.
But here, a command… to relish my covenant partner with the same thoughtlessness it takes to enjoy fine wine… to be so carried away that I’m dizzy-drunk, publicly intoxicated by the fear & wonder with which she was made.
There go the ships, and Whale, which you formed to play in it. [psalm 104:26]
Now this is where it gets a little wonky. Smart people think the psalmist either thought one of two things: God made this beast of a sea-creature just to play in the ocean, or God made this beast of a sea-creature as a partner in play. If you have trouble imagining it, the guy with two thumbs does too.
But either way, if this Creator is trying to make a world with streamlined efficiency, he clearly can’t help himself any more than you and I can help but watch Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl performance when we’re supposed to be penning emails.
The LORD your God is in your midst… he will rejoice over you with gladness. [zephaniah 3:17]
OK, last one, I promise. But it’s pretty insane.
First , did we really need to appendage ‘with gladness’? Goes without saying that you wouldn’t rejoice with glumness.
Second, the Hebrew word for ‘rejoice’ literally means to go around in a circle dancing.
I don’t frequently imagine that the Creator would find any screwy one of us—nation or individual—of a substance worth anything more than mild disappointment at what could have been, much less the kind of rejoicing that has ants in its pants and has to move around.
Yet so it is. As prayers end, Amen: let it be, make it so, I hope it’s actually true somehow.
So here’s a proposal.
What if Jesus wasn’t muttering sweet Christian-greeting-card-nothings when he said that he wants his joy to be in us, and for that joy to be full?
What if love is a lot of things, but it is most fundamentally doing what God did at the very beginning: seeing all the hilarious and delicious and frequently unnecessary creation and taking sweet time to find it good and very good?
What if people who are no good at love like me can start by looking at people square in the eye, seeing that they are very good, and trying to enjoy them as best as we can?
Because, between you and me, I think you were made to delight and be delighted in.