Saturday, March 17, 2012

We like to party.

Last Saturday night was legendary. 70 of the most beautiful and amazing people in all of Atlanta gathered in our humble townhouse for an early St. Patrick's Day party, and it was astonishingly fun. Green cupcakes were baked, bread bowls filled with delicious spinach dip were cut to look like shamrocks, and plenty of U2 songs were added to the playlist. Kegs were tapped, bottles were uncorked, unique cocktails were shaken, and fine cigars were lit. Eventually, our entire neighborhood was lined with cars, and every common area was packed shoulder-to-shoulder. Many people there didn't know each other beforehand, and countless friendships were started that night. The smiles were wide, the laughs were hearty, and the welcomes were warm.
My friends and I throw a lot of parties. I guess we just have so much to be joyful about, and we enjoy sharing that joy with others. So we do that the best way we know how - we open up the doors to our homes, we invite others to join us for meals, and we celebrate the beauty of living life to the full. The notion that the Christian life is one filled with rules, regulations, and boring rituals is a complete farce. Jesus said he came so that we "may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10).  In fact, he spent so much time eating and drinking with people that the religious leaders of the day accused him of being a glutton and a drunkard! (Matthew 11) I think Jesus would've had a blast hanging out with all of the wonderful people at our parties.
Brittany passes out some green cocktails

I like the way Robert Hotchkins, a theologian at the University of Chicago, put it: "Christians ought to be celebrating constantly. We ought to be preoccupied with parties, banquets, feasts, and merriment. We ought to give ourselves over to veritable orgies of joy because we have been liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death. We ought to attract people to the church quite literally by the fun there is in being a Christian." What grabs me most in that statement is "liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death" - because I think that's the source of our joy, and it's what we find in Christ. 

In reality, my friends and I don't have it all figured out. We've been beat up, burnt out, and dragged down. We've been laid off, cussed out, and turned away. But in Christ, we've traded in a life of keeping up with the Joneses for one of freedom and purpose. We're not naive, we know there is pain in this world - that's why we spent the day after the party fixing up a local school, and spent the previous Saturday cooking and serving dinner at a local homeless shelter. Yet even in the midst of that pain, our joy perseveres because we know this life is not the end of the story. And that is why we party.

What I'm listening to during this post: "I love this" by Jamie Cullum

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