Celebration and Relaxation

Tomorrow is a celebration; it marks both my birthday and the conclusion of my move to another house. I figured, in the midst of all the more sober prescriptive articles of the past, I would take this opportunity to discuss celebration, luxury, relaxation and the like.

For one, there’s very little to go off with regards to visuals. Mentions of art, paint, color, and drawing are very rare in the Bible. It makes me wonder if “You shall not make for yourself a divine image with any form that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth below or that is in the water below the earth,” the first part of the second commandment, applies to more than just idolatry, just as the adultery expands to merely looking at a woman to lust for her. Even still, I’ve been in churches with and without imagery. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the warmth and comfort provided by the visual manifestation of Christ around me. Perhaps the absence of visual art in the Bible is an allowance for cross-cultural interpretations. I’m sounding too Californian at this point, so I’ll move on.

Unlike visual art, music is very commonly mentioned in the Bible. In Second Kings, The hand of God came upon even an evil king in the midst of played music. In Lamentations and Revelation, the absence of music is a sign of desolation. This is not even to mention David’s entire musical repertoire. Music was an integral part of life as documented in the Bible, and it seems to not be sin to listen to and enjoy music of all kinds. As far as I know, it’s a blameless way to enjoy your days of relaxation.

Rest is not only a good thing, it is an integral part of human life. God rested as a sign for humanity to rest, and the children of Israel were instructed to rest on the seventh day. Often a tactical peace, an absence of conflict, is referred to as rest: “the land rested from war” (Joshua 11:23; see also 2 Samuel 7:1). The absence of conflict, the feeling of separation, is a wonderful feeling of calm. It’s not a sin to withdraw from the world for a moment; the human mind can only handle so much stress. Christ reigns and cannot be overthrown. You can afford respite. Lean back and let the grace of God wash through you.

Celebration too is godly. The people of Israel celebrated when God drove their invaders away. They celebrated at the end of a grand accomplishment, such as the completion of Jerusalem’s walls. Weddings, and birthdays, and religious feasts were all causes for great festivals and rejoicing. It’s a natural part of humanity to be joyful for great things, and it enriches us. Take a moment to appreciate these things, even if it’s for a moment.

God never wished for us to be mindless automatons. He gave us virility, He gave us peace, and He gave us joy. In a world of turbulence and panic, find a place for calm and comfort in life.


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