MJ and I just had our Thursday lunch at Von Jakob Winery. The wine was good and the food was great. We had tenderloin sandwiches that were as large as my fist…and larger than MJs’. It was almost more than I could eat… Little Egypt is resplendent with wineries. Many people engage a limousine tour of the many wine stops…in order to be able to imbibe freely. When these folks enter an establishment that you may be enjoying a glass of wine in…they can be easily spotted by their peals of laughter and flushed happy countenances… Wineries are good places to lay your worries at the doorstep and enter into days of grace. The plethora of worries that surround us in our modern life…can fog the beauty of life and our part in it. So often we are going to visit a winery more often…perhaps when we have more time…or less to do…or when our projects are finally completed. We know that we intend to stop and reflect and enjoy each others company…when things just get a little better…and we have less on our plate…and we finally have the necessary time for the Golden Years… What if the Golden years are here and prolonged waiting will tarnish their glow?
Work so captivates the minds and hearts of we Americans…that we can think of little else. For several years after my retirement, friends and colleagues asked me what I was going to do for employment. Now, I gave the best years of my life in pursuit of my career and of acquiring financial stability. I worked 12 and 16…and even 24 hour days in the frenetic race to succeed. I wonder why people, who have a stable income, feel that they must work for more money…until they die… Is our worth as humans beings totally tied to our stock portfolio? We take great store and put a tremendous influence on those who have acquired significant wealth. We seek these people to set on our University Board of Trustees and we value their considered opinion over those of us who have simply made a living or the poor among us. Capitalism has become our standard of excellence and our exact ruler for success or failure at the game of life.
A common and popular doctrine in some christian churches is the prosperity doctrine. The teaching that if you are doing God’s will…he will make you rich in this earthly life. I have known thousands of wonderful christians…who have remained poor for their entire lives. The prosperity doctrine is working out well…for the prosperous…or those who seek to become prosperous off the hard labor of others. Somehow we have raised the false flag of wealth…as the beacon of Christ’s love. The flip side of the prosperity doctrine is that we look down on those who are poor and homeless and in need of help…’Why if fhey would just pull themselves up by their boot straps…they could be the recipient of God’s love…like we rich folks are.’ Jesus said, ‘Then the King shall say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom that was prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say,’I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25: 34 – 40. NLT
”Why are we weigh’d upon with heaviness, and utterly consumed with sharp distress, While all things else have rest from weariness?’
‘Hateful is the dark-blue sky, Vaulted or’e the dark-blue sea. Death is the end of life; ah, why Should life all labour be?
‘Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast, And in a little while our lips are dumb . Let us alone. What is it that will last? All things are taken from us, and become Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
‘Let us alone. What pleasure can we have to war with evil? Is there any peace In ever climbing up the climbing wave? All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave In silence; ripen, fall, and cease: Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.’ The Lotus Eaters…Tennyson