It's Chapter 2 that I'm reading today.
The first question Voskamp offers that I must at least internally address and slow down to ponder is "How do we live fully so we are fully ready to die?" That is the question that causes my heart to race...that causes me to stop in my tracks...that allows tears to form in my eyes...how do I live this life so that all that really matters is all that matters? If this life is all there is then eat, drink and be merry...do what you feel...live all this world has to offer to the fullest...if this is all there is. BUT if this life is the training ground for eternity...if this life is the preparation place where we are to become intimate with our Maker...the place He has chosen for us to journey with His indwelling Spirit to choose to live beyond all the earthly pleasures, choosing to live for something, some purpose, some goal beyond today then certainly this question is worth my meditation.
I've been reading the book of James over and over this summer and according to James, the brother of Christ, this life matters a lot and what we do in this life is what makes our faith legitimate. James 1:22 says, " Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Based on this verse and the whole of James' message what we do here counts There. It would seem to me that each persons journey to eternity would be figuring out for themselves what really counts here and There.
Reading further Voskamp states that joy, a holy joy, might be what our quest for "more" is all about. She also brings to light that when Jesus had only a few hours left to live He took that time with His disciples to offer thanks..."eucharisteo"....thanks...grace...He took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks...He took the bread as a gift and gave thanks. (I pause here to just realize for myself that saying "grace"
before a meal is to stop for a moment and see all that is placed before us as a gift. Recently it has been revealed to me anew that "it's all grace"....-all that I have is all from His hand and that I have it at all is because of His graciousness toward me. It has nothing to do with me
or my moral living...not my rules or standards...nothing about me at all...it's all Him...it's all grace. So as I say grace at our next meal...maybe I can remember anew that "it's all grace".) Voskamp states that deep joy, chara, is found only at the table of the eucharisteo...the table of thanksgiving. The question bears repeating, "is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?" thanks in the here and now...right where we are...in the midst of whatever circumstance we find ourselves...seeing God in the present...grace, thanksgiving, joy...could that be the answer in our search for more? Could that be goal of today....of tomorrow...to living our fullest life? The verse that immediately comes to me is found in ICor 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." This could be the secret of a full life...theLife that is lived in light of eternity. I believe her thoughts to be true. "Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle. And the one that says "non-euchristeo , ingratitude was the fall--humanitity's discontent with all that God freely gives." and again, "our very saving is
with our gratitude". "Thanksgiving-giving thanks in everything-prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ. I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed the fullness of my thanks everyday and euchristeo is elemental to living the saved life."
As I have attempted to process the beginnings of this book here I have realized on only the 2nd day that I probably won't be able to take the time to process here, like this, every day. Nor do I think that you will have time to read my thoughts everyday. But, today, for the moment I am thankful certainly to be on this journey and to have the time while on vacation to soak in the truth of what I have read so far and to know that the life I am to live is one of gratitude in all things. I am anxious to see how Voskamp continues in her poetical way to teach me the joy and life of thanksgiving.
Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.
With joyous thanksgiving,