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‘Enjoy Me’

Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?

‘Jesus with woman at well’ stained glass, Saint Chapelle, Paris, France | iStock

As a progressive Christian, I believe there are many names for God and many ways to a loving God; this article reflects one of those ways. Take from here what works for you. Celebrate life with joy and peace!

At the hospital we are to wash our hands when we arrive and before we leave. It’s been a crazy cold and flu season here this winter and we try to do whatever we can to stay healthy even though it’s so contagious. Well, there’s another thing that’s contagious (besides a yawn) and that’s laughter!

We’ve all been around someone who’s laughing and it makes you smile; and they keep on laughing, and before you know it you’re hooked, and you just can’t help yourself; you are laughing out loud too. Laughter is a great tonic. Laughter is good for the soul! Yes, the soul! And yet, for some unknown reason we tend to keep laughter separated from our religious life. I mean, after all, religion is serious business! (sarcasm inserted)

There’s a quote from St. Teresa of Avila, “How did those priests ever get so serious and preach all that gloom? I don’t think God tickled them yet. Beloved (her word for God) hurry!”

Isn’t the thought of being tickled by God a wonderful thought? I was thinking, do I spend much time laughing with God? Do you spend much time laughing with God? Listen to these other quotes from the writings of St. Teresa, “Just these two words God spoke changed my life, ‘Enjoy Me.’” She goes on to say, “What a burden I thought I was to carry, a crucifix, as did Christ. Love (which is Teresa’s name for God) once said to me, ‘I know a song, would you like to hear it?’ And laughter came from every pore in the sky. After a night of prayer, God changed my life when God sang, ‘Enjoy Me.’”

Enjoy me. What a different place the world would be if we could only hear God saying to us, “Enjoy Me.”

Oh, sometimes we get so serious! Duty, responsibility, guilt and consternation, no wonder there’s no time or energy left to “Enjoy!” I mean, we’ve got things to do, lessons to learn, values to instill, and standards to uphold, so we’ve put enjoyment on the back burner and all the time God continues to tickle us. Over and over again.

Today, let’s pause in our busy lives to make moments of silence, and take times of reflection and listen again to that still small voice that whispers our true identity, you are a beloved child of God, and then for good measure God adds, and nothing can separate you from my love.

“Enjoy Me!” God says. We have talked about, and practice, so many different ways to pray. Don’t you think laughter can be one of the most sublime forms of prayer? I hope you can hear God saying to you, “Lighten up and enjoy your time with Me.”

The Scripture about the Woman at the Well is full of double entendres. In fact, this story is so “out there” that when the powers that be were sitting around deciding which books would make it into the New Testament, the Gospel of John almost didn’t make the cut. This story seemed far too racy, and I mean racy in both senses of the word. This story was about race and it was far too risqué for some of the religious authorities who were functioning as the thought police for the early church.

Jesus was traveling from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. Most Jews back then would have gone the extra miles to avoid Samaria all together. But not Jesus. No, he just had to go there, even if the majority stayed away from these “half-breeds” as they were called.

So, Jesus ends up smack dab in the middle of Samaria in the heat of the noonday sun, and at Jacob’s well, when a woman shows up. Not just any woman, but a woman who belongs to a race that is the sworn enemy of the Jewish people; a Samaritan woman. And Jesus, the would-be Messiah, strikes up a conversation with this woman. Jesus asks her for a drink of water and she replies, “How is it that you, a Jewish man, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” And Jesus answers her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

The woman tries to put Jesus in his place: “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob…?”

But Jesus isn’t about to give up, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” So, she calls his bluff and says to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

What may seem like harmless repartee is actually pretty serious. Jesus was a rabbi, and rabbis in Jesus’ day just didn’t talk to a woman, any woman in public. And it was a violation for a Jew to speak with a Samaritan and for a Jewish rabbi it was unthinkable. And this woman wasn’t just any Samaritan woman; she came to the well in the heat of the day to avoid the other women of her town who came in the cool of the morning. She wanted to be alone because she was the talk of the town. She had been ridiculed and ostracized.

So Jesus changes the subject. “Go, call your husband, and come back.” She thinks he might be fishing for details about her… and she says, “I have no husband.” Jesus replies, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true. And then she recognizes Jesus is a prophet.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. The disciples were shocked when they came back and saw what was going on. But they didn’t say anything. They trusted Jesus.

I like the sculpture just up the road at what used to be the Crystal Cathedral of the “Smiling Jesus.” Sometimes we need to lighten up, relax, and enjoy ourselves. Laughter is good for the soul.

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Posted by on Apr 27, 2017. Filed under Latest Issue, Where's the Faith?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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