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Jesus the Lord of Delight

Posted on January 16th, 2009

My family growing up was never very good at delight, play, and enjoying the healthy, God-given pleasures of life. Added to this was a Christian formation in my early years that reinforced a subtle theology that the more you suffered for Christ, then the more loved you were by Him. We were to work, to do for Christ, especially among those of us serving in urban centers like New York City. The journey of emotional health and contemplative spirituality have helped me enormously, but it has been a long, slow process of growth. I am slowly getting there, learning to enjoy pleasure, gifts, fun, dance, wine, and celebrating! I’ve just completed The Good of Affluence by John Schneider, a professor of theology out of Calvin College in West Michigan. I do not agree with all he says, but he makes a number of excellent points. One, humans were designed by God to enjoy and delight, unashamedly like our God, in material, physical things. Two, we are small kings and queens (as image-bearers) placed in a pleasure Garden called the world with all its delights. Thirdly, Jesus is the Lord of Delight. When wine runs out at Cana, he turns water into 180 gallons of the very best wine! He allows Mary to pour out precious nard on his feet that is worth a year’s wages. This is so outrageous to Judas that it is the last straw for him. They said of him, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Lk. 7:34). “A strikingly distinctive activity of Jesus and his followers was their regular celebration with festive meals, almost certainly a celebration of the presence of the kingdom.” As a result Jesus was accused of associating with people who were indulgently enjoying life rather than observing Torah. I like that! Like Jesus in his day, I find myself surrounded by needs (and that is without thinking of the rest of the world!). Yet, there is something profound in the tension of following The Lord of Delight and enjoying life, while at the same time taking responsibility to serve others and steward our God-given resources. I hope to finish my service to Christ a lot better at unabashedly delighting in God’s world than when I started. What do you think are the implications of seeing Jesus as The Lord of Delight? if we miss this aspect of His person?

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