28 October 2015

TSSF Principles, Day 28

The Third Note
(28) Tertiaries, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in our lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. We remember that we follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend to tax collectors and sinners and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. We delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God’s world, its beauty and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. We mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the broken-hearted and to bring joy into the lives of others. We carry within us an inner peace and happiness, which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.
During his earthly ministry Jesus showed very clearly that he loves life. His followers too should rejoice in all that is good in God’s creation. Yes, there is sin and evil out there – and we should discern and oppose these – but these are not the defining characteristics of the world we live in. On the contrary, orthodox Christian teaching has always insisted that God sees the material world as very good.

The natural world is God’s good creation and we should rejoice in it – a view traditionally associated with Franciscans of course. But that includes our own physicality (and with that our sexuality).

And the human world (our social arrangements, institutions, and cultures) is as much a part of God’s good creation as the natural world. So it is never wrong to enjoy great art or drama or well-prepared food or fine drink. We should not neglect to sing or laugh or dance together. Neither should we look down on the simpler, humbler aspects of our human world as too unsophisticated or primitive – a well-made pizza offers as much enjoyment as the latest creation of a Michelin starred chef; an old folk song shared by friends over a pint as much a recital of Schubert Lieder.

All of God’s creation is good. Therefore we must rejoice in all things.

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