"Enjoy Me"

“Don’t analyse; you’ll never work it out.
Don’t reach for your phone and take a picture; the image will never capture what you see now. 
Just enjoy this moment. What you’re seeing, hearing, feeling. Just be here. Now. Enjoy.”

Well, that was the gist of what I heard, I think.

I was walking Pip (our dog) through the woods early one morning recently. It was warm and bright. Sunlight dappled the ground. And quiet, apart from birdsong everywhere.

I was reminded that it’s OK sometimes just to waste time and notice things. Augustine called it ‘otium sanctum’ - sacred idleness.

In the mid-1600s bible scholars got together in Westminster to work out a system of teaching doctrine in the churches in England and Scotland. They started by trying to define what life is really all about and came up with:

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Which I really like.

On one reading this could mean, ‘Bust a gut in God’s service until you die, then you’ll be rewarded and happy’. If it does, I think that’s only a tiny part of the story. Because for Christians, eternal life has already begun. We live in the overlap between earth and heaven. God’s Kingdom has come and is coming.

A century earlier God showed himself to a Carmelite nun is Spain, Teresa of Avila. After a life changing encounter with him, she wrote

Just these two words He spoke
changed my life.
“Enjoy Me.”
What a burden I thought I was to carry–
a crucifix, as did He.
Love once said to me, “I know a song,
would you like to hear it?”
And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore in the sky.
After a night of prayer,
He changed my life when
He sang,
“Enjoy Me.”

As I ambled through the woods with Pip and he took his time sniffing and weeing and doing what dogs do, he hinted to me that I really ought to be listening to what God was saying to me at that moment. (Some have said it’s psychological projection or simple fantasy, but I’ve a notion that Pip has a sense of what’s important at times. And sometimes he hints things to me.)

Anyway, the thought occurred to me that God was saying, “Enjoy what I’ve made, and enjoy me. Enjoy this moment. Don’t observe it. Don’t think about it. Don’t try to capture it. Just enjoy me - now”.

In the 1980s John Piper wrote about enjoying God in his book ‘Christian Hedonism’. A central idea is that God’s ultimate goal in the world (his glory) and our deepest desire (to be happy) are one and the same. Or in other words, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”.

When I read the bible it seems that serving God and enjoying God are two sides of a coin. Both/and; not either/or:

The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah)

Taste and see that the Lord is good (David)

Count it pure joy when you face trials (James)

Rejoice in the Lord always (Paul)

We’re encouraged to give as freely as we’ve received (Jesus).

It’s a deliberate thing. It’s intentional and effortful sometimes.

But sometimes it’s just about stopping and waiting and receiving and renewing our strength (Isaiah) …

… and enjoying.

Angus Lyon