Saturday, 19 December 2015

A Pilgrim World

Not the heavenly city, but Mont St Michel in France.

Last Thursday night at Pilgrim Dinners, Peirce gave the seventh instalment in his cycle of seven talks. This year Peirce has been telling the great Redemption narrative -  or, as he's explained it to the travellers, "The Love Story of History."

The last talk was called "New Creation." It was quite thrilling to look around the room at over 40 young people from all over the world, listening intently to Peirce getting excited about the New Jerusalem.

Discussion afterwards was remarkably lively and joyous.

A young German woman who has come to every talk asked if she could take one of the Bibles to read ("Um, YES!").

Our regular trio of jokey UK blokes asked me "why is God nasty in the Old Testament and nice in the New". They listened with interest as I talked about the nature of the Covenants and the Atonement. In fact, I was given an excellent opportunity to point to the mercy of God in the OT when one of them asked why the story of Jonah is in the Bible.

It was an evening on which I felt very blessed to be walking in this good work that God has prepared.

Discussing the unseen joys of heaven with a room full of travellers is a good launching point for this quote I've been saving for a rainy day:

For all its greatness (trust me—I am the last man on earth to sell it short), the created order cries out for futher greatness still. The most splendid dinner, the most exquisite food, the most gratifying company, arouse more appetites than they satisfy. They do not slake man’s thirst for being; they whet it beyond all bounds. Dogs eat to give their bodies rest; man dines and sets his heart in motion. All tastes fade, of course, but not the taste for greatness they inspire; each love escapes us, but not the longing it provokes for a better convivium, a higher session. We embrace the world in all its glorious solidity, yet it struggles in our very arms, declares itself a pilgrim world, and, through the lattices and windows of its nature, discloses cities more desirable still.
You indict me, no doubt, as an incurable romantic. I plead guilty without contest. I see no other explanation of what we are about. Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself—and it is our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetittes, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.

 From "The Supper of the Lamb" by Robert Farrar Capon.