Pastor Booth recently shared a quote that I wanted to pass on to you. It’s by minister and author Robert Farrar Capon, who went to be with the Lord this week. Pastor Capon knows the truth of what follows far better than we. He wrote,
Let me tell you why God made the world.
One afternoon, before anything was made, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sat around in the unity of their Godhead discussing one of the Father’s fixations. From all eternity, it seems, he had had this thing about being. He would keep thinking up all kinds of unnecessary things – new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked, God the Son suddenly said, “Really, this is absolutely great stuff. Why don’t 1 go out and mix us up a batch?” And God the Holy Spirit said, “Terrific! I’ll help you.” So they all pitched in, and after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pine cones kept dropping all over the place, and crazy fish swam around in the wineglasses. There were mushrooms and mastodons, grapes and geese, tornadoes and tigers – and men and women everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them, and to love them. And God the Father looked at the whole wild party and said, “Wonderful! just what I had in mind! Tov! Tov! Tov!” (“Good! Good! Good!”). And all God the Son and God the Holy Spirit could think of to say was the same thing: “Tov! Tov! Tov!” So they shouted together “Tov meod!” (“Very good!”) and they laughed for ages and ages, saying things like how great it was for beings to be, and how clever of the Father to think of the idea, and how kind of the Son to go to all that trouble putting it together, and how considerate of the Spirit to spend so much time directing and choreographing And for ever and ever they told old jokes, and the Father and the son drank their wine in unitate Spiritus Sancti (in the unity of the Holy Spirit), and they all threw ripe olives and pickled mushrooms at each other per omnia saecula saeculorum (forever and ever), Amen.
It is, I grant you, a crass analogy; but crass analogies are the safest. Everybody knows that God is not three old men throwing olives at each other. Not everyone, I’m afraid, is equally clear that God is not a cosmic force or a principle of being or any other dish of celestial blancmange we might choose to call him. Accordingly, I give you the central truth that creation is the result of a trinitarian bash, and leave the details of the analogy to sort themselves out as best they can.
I love the thought that all of creation – including education – is “the result of a trinitarian bash.” God throws a party, and here we are: desks with student bottoms to sit in them, books with crisp spines ready to be cracked open and read by eager eyes, teachers smiling while they tell stories or explain why a square has four corners, sunshine peeping through windows on globes and multicolored bulletin boards. It reminds me that we bring the Triune God immense pleasure, that God’s joy far exceeds our own, and that there is always room for us to play and laugh. In fact, it reminds me that if laughter and joy don’t fill our classrooms and echo through our hallways, we are probably not doing things right.
We, and all our endeavors to learn and be all that we can be, are really the grand outworking of the Triune God’s story He is writing large in the universe. If this isn’t true, then we should be dour and grave, mirthless and serious, fearful of ultimate failure, because our lives are the last attack on the Death Star, and the salvation of the galaxy depends entirely on us. If Pastor Capon is wrong, everything would hinge on whether we get things right.
But no: we are free to be serious when it is time to be serious, but not to take ourselves too seriously. God is at work! We are His workmanship in Christ, by the Spirit. So let’s be joyful and laugh and live life in Him. As we make an education beautiful, let’s live the bash.