In today’s America, we see the face of politicians more than anyone else, because we are in constant conversation about the state of things, and because our President can’t seem to keep from Tweeting in the middle of the night.
We rotate in and out of the stories that can garner the most attention–usually negative ones, ones that zap our energy from us and leave relationships broken or give us a pessimistic view of humanity. We all become villians to each other over time with these stories.
Sometimes what we need is the simple delight of God.
This is not an artificial belief that everything is great and that we don’t actually live in a pretty frightening era of the church. This is a call to stay tethered to the constant and full good that we find in a God who delights. Because God looks over the span of our lives, God can see—delight—over what is good and beautiful while looking at what is broken and painful.
And when we partake in that delight, we realize that it is for everyone and anyone, an inclusive, diverse delight that is not rooted in the shame of dogmas or corroded religion.
We speak over and over that God is a God of justice, that things will be made right–the true prophet’s story that we all need to hear.
But today, I need to hear the light laughter of God.
I need to play rock, paper, scissors with my five-year-old and listen to him giggle when he wins.
I need to remember that the same God who demands justice is the same God that watches people worship with a pure heart and smiles over them.
This is not out of ignorance. It is not because we are too naive to know that justice is part of our work.But we have to remember that God is a joyful, robust being of delight who made this world with a smile. There was joy and unrestrained delight in those moments of creation, in those beautiful moments of taking dark chaos and turning it into every crawling creature and every riverbank, and eventually every human alive.
When we stop and watch a flower blow in the breeze or remember that birds can literally fly anywhere they’d like, it is hard to stay in the doom and gloom. It is hard to think anything of Donald Trump or this nation when we know that beautiful things still happen across the ocean from us.
Cultures still come alive, neighbors still meet for coffee, families still share meals together, children still play in the dirt.
It’s not a bad thing to remember that we are small–quite the contrary, in fact. Remembering that we are small keeps us a part of something, connected, humble.
We watch the painful things happen, too, and we do not turn our eyes from the work of justice, but to go there, we have to stay connected to the delight of God, or we will lose hope. We have to stay connected to the goodness of God, or we will forget that things are capable of being good.
And when we enter into that presence, we can remember what it’s like to hold steady to a young, childlike faith that sees a good God with good intentions.
We can gaze on the face of God without fear, but with trust, and trust leading to obedience, and obedience leading to a healthier, truer church, rooted in inclusive love.
The delight of God calls us to remember that to create is a benevolent and good act, and we are creating something every day.
Our choice falls on what we create, what we give our energy to.
So many of my friends have stepped away from social media for Lent, and maybe that’s the key. Maybe we step away and look at real faces and a real earth so that we remember a real God who moves, breathes, has being, and a Jesus who still leads.
Maybe there, we learn how to delight in ourselves again, in one another again, in this benevolent world again.
Maybe there, we remember that we still need the delight of God.