"If bread is the first necessity of life, recreation is a close second".
We all have things we love to do. It might be a taking a particular walk or ride, listening to certain songs or music, or engaging creatively with food or paints or other materials. Often, we enjoy such activities with others, but sometimes, we value such engagements alone.
This past week provided an opportunity for me to be involved in my first photo shoot of the New Year. As is so often the case, I spent the day before this prepping gear and considering locations for the day itself, thinking about the kind of images that I hoped to gain.
We enjoy such times, not only because they deeply refresh and inspire us, but because they "feed" a profound hunger that all of us share at the heart of our nature.
As people, we were fashioned to want and desire on a whole range of levels - from the basic need to feed our bodies, to the seemingly infinite capacity to satisfy our need to engage with and unpack the resplendence of the creation which surrounds, sustains and impresses upon us. One of the wonders of life is when we can not only provide for, but abundantly elaborate on furnishing such longings, whilst one of the true horrors is when we seek to crush or stifle such longings by channeling them in such a fashion that we harm or demean the person(s) concerned (think about the fall of humanity in the garden of Eden, and how many cults have taken a similar line).
When Jesus begins to address the everyday people of His day, He speaks of how God wants to use our basic desires - our hunger and thirst, not just for food and water, but for life - to point us to what's really going on with regards to who and what we are. God made us with such great appetites and needs amidst a creation that can furnish us on a basic level to prompt us to look further - to go deeper - to find the true satisfaction to those deepest longings. He shows us that all the things we naturally enjoy allow us to gain a savor of what will truly, eternally satisfy our restless souls. We can spend our lives rushing all over the place to find such peace, or we can find it in the one who made us and deeply cares for us - that is the true intention behind all that 'speaks' to us so deeply regarding meaning in our world.
Christ doesn't remove our delight in all the good things of life - He makes it all the more satisfying because He allows us to see that this present splendor is just a prelude, a foretaste, of the magnificence that is close, when all of creation is once more clothed in its full radiance, lost because of our fall.
Jesus came as a man to set each of us free by His death and resurrection - to give life in all its fulness. All of creation awaits the day when that shall be seen once again.
I hope 2016 proves to be a year when all of us taste of and enjoy such splendor.