Lake of Beer

I should like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I should like the angels of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.
I should like excellent meats of belief and pure piety.
I should like the men of Heaven at my house.
I should like barrels of peace at their disposal.
I should like for them cellars of mercy.
I should like cheerfulness to be their drinking.
I should like Jesus to be there among them.
I should like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I should like the people of Heaven, the poor, to be gathered around from all parts.

Attributed to St. Brigid the Gael

You know what I like about this prayer? Only everything!

Number one, let’s get this out of the way, it’s possible that this poem will offend a few of my readers who aren’t letting themselves understand the context or the spirit of the poem. I hate to be a troublemaker…… okay, that’s not true. I hate to cause trouble for those who don’t need it, but some people do.  The poem is about hospitality and joy, and for most people ‘a lake of ale’ would certainly bring those things to the forefront.  (If you are trying to decide if you are offended, think of the poem in terms of the Wedding Feast of Cana when Jesus turned the water to wine.)  We are to be joyful! Celebratory! If Christians are who they say they are, how are we not living a joyful existence everyday?

Look, I get it, I’ve been down and out a few times, read my last post or any number of them, but I simply refuse to let the down times dictate my life. Even in my worst places there have been reasons to celebrate, moments to celebrate in, and people to celebrate with! I have two friends fighting cancer right now, one is a believer and one is not but they both have been inspiring to me, because they both have this “Lake of Beer” mentality! They choose, when they aren’t dog tired from chemotherapy, to LIVE NOW!  How do the rest of us have excuses not to live. Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 says it best.

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

Jesus states one of His purpose was to give us  an abundant, full to the brim and overflowing life. Now honestly, who doesn’t want that? And yet a good portion of the Christians I know are too busy predicting the doom of mankind to actually live an abundant life. No wonder we can barely convince people to seek Christ anymore, what reason could they possibly have? Our happy demeanor? The way we deal with our problems? The way we never run each other down or give in to selfish rage?  Love is supposed to be our hallmark and yet, love has to do with living life, with people, and enjoying it! So, quit screaming that the sky is falling, of course it is, it has been since Adam and Eve; it has been since you were born and started the journey from cradle to grave; entropy happens, it’s the curse, but today……

Today I have Jesus who turns my mourning into dancing; who gives me songs in the night; who blessed my life with the laughter of children and the beauty of their ‘growing-up.’ Today I have the passion of torrid and amazing love affair with my wife and a backyard so full of trees that I can’t get satellite television, and great friends and an amazing church and barbecue and steak and theater and film and barefoot walks and rainy days and sunny days and, and, and……….My God, how wonderful everything is if you just pay attention! And He wants to celebrate it all with you and through you.

A lake of beer, indeed!

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6 thoughts on “Lake of Beer

  1. Yes 🙂 I shouldn’t speak to Christians, not being one, but I can speak to everyone else. This is exactly how to live! You have a wonderful blog.

  2. I’ll have a couple of barrels of peace and a few cellars of mercy, please! Life is good! When there was a time where Clark’s conquering cancer was an “if” question and not a “when” question — we lived each day to the fullest. It put another 3 inches of stickem to the both of us – and this October we’ll have been married 22 years and will be the 6th anniversary since Clark’s surgery. God is Good!

  3. I had the same conversation today with two people – even the poorest people in America are rich by other countries’ standards. Happiness is a choice but, true joy it is impossible without Jesus. We are so blessed – not because I’m in control but because He is.

  4. I cannot, of course, read without writing–not a bad habit in my position–therefore, I will try, like you and I always do in conversation (an untruth), to be brief. First, I am offended.Well, maybe not offended so much as miffed. And maybe not so much miffed as surprised. Maybe, maybe . . . I’ll get to the point.

    I think you present only one side of the coin. I’m reminded of two speakers who taught on prayer: One suggested that we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, crying out in anguish from our lowly state. The other proclaimed that believers should go boldly before the throne of God with praise and thanksgiving. Both are correct. We should be joyous. And we should be broken.

    Furthermore,–don’t you love it when long-winded people say furthermore?–you connect a decline in evangelism with the dour attitudes presented by Christians. While this case may sometimes be made, the history of Christianity suggests that the opposite may also be true. Jonathan Edwards began one of the great evangelistic sweeps in the United States with his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon–not a laughter-filled read.

    I love that you make me think and look forward to continuing this discussion (and others) next week in person.

    Bill

    1. Hey, Bill! Thanks for the comment.

      Here’s the thing, it was not my intent to present one side of anything. I was pointing to a lifestyle and discipleship goal and not necessarily the process to get there or the need for revival in the church today; I should use ‘awakening’ to fit the context of your Jonathon Edwards mention. I think a joyful life is the intent of God’s will for us and I think the weight of scripture, especially in the New Testament points to that. Jesus even prays it in John 17:13 and tells the disciples that is his intent in John 16. Now then, brokeness and “Godly-sorrow” and repentance are a step in the process towards joy, possibly the main step, but we aren’t supposed to stay there, it leads us on to joy. that’s why ‘weeping lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Psalms 30:5. Paul approaches this same idea in II Corinthians 7:10 when he says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Godly sorrow leads to salvation which leads to joy. Worldly sorrow, that is sorrow that does not lead to salvation, is a downward grief cycle that leads to death. It is negative and filled with regrets, guilt and self incrimination. So again, we have sorrow, we mourn our stupid sinfulness, and we move on from repentance to joy.

      Revival is different. When Jonathon Edwards monotone reading of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sparked the Great Awakening, it was an entirely different culture than what we live in today; that amazing revival started in a ‘Church Culture’ that was in need of repentance and revival: Godly sorrow that led to a change in lifestyle. Does the remaining church culture stand in need of revival today? You bet it does!! And part of that great coming repentance is the understanding that we are a people of love who live in the joy of good company and celebration with God’s people. What do we have to offer the lost as we are now? “I want to be a Christian so I can complain about the government?” “I want to be a Christian so I can talk to everyone about the angry God who is going to rescue me and leave you all here to be destroyed by wrath?” “I want to be a Christian so I can be smug, and morally superior?” (evangelicals) “Socially superior?” (mainstream protestants) “Intellectually Superior?” (emergents and reformed) “Traditionally Superior?” (didn’t want to leave out the Catholics)

      We have plenty to repent of, our focus on righteousness at the expense of love; our focus on license as opposed to responsible, God-loving freedom; our focus on building churches rather than being the church. The list goes on.

      Obviously, I am not opposed to the Dark Night’s journey that the western church still has to undergo. “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus said. But He finished by saying, “They will be comforted.”

      Of course, this is my formal response. 🙂 Really looking forward to talking to you next week, my friend. Much love.

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