In my sermon this week, I referenced one of the great catechisms of the Church, the first question of which is, “What is the chief end of [humanity].” And the answer is: “The chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy [God] forever.”
I’ve always liked the idea that that’s the first thing we need to know in the life of faith.
It tells us two important things. First, that we’re sufficient, in this life, in these bodies, with whatever we have, to glorify the God who made all things. That’s no small claim about us! What we are reflects and honours and points to God. Everything we do can be done for God’s glory. Even the smallest, most insignificant acts are shot through with glory. How could that change the way we go about our daily tasks, the way we move through the world? And more, if there’s something we do that doesn’t glorify God—honour, praise, and love God and God’s beloved world—then we’re free not to do that thing. To glorify God is to live freely and fully as ourselves. As one thinker on these things put it a long time ago, “the glory of God is the human fully alive!”
The second thing this tells us is that we’re meant to enjoy God’s company, to spend time in God’s pleasure. I have to confess, I’ve generally focused less on that half of the answer. But for some reason, this time around—maybe it’s the strange spaciousness of this holiday season—I realized that we really do need this part in order to do the first part. They go hand in hand.
And what an amazing thing to know that part of living fully and freely is simply spending time enjoying God. We get to just be in the presence of the One who is the source and sustainer of life. Enjoyment can’t be rushed or forced or done in abstract. It lingers. It delights. It’s spontaneous. It’s intimate. It receives another in all their wonder and beauty.
My goal, at the beginning of this new Christian year, is to spend more time enjoying God. To stop rushing long enough to feel the pleasure of God’s love, to know the joy of God’s presence, and to receive God’s delight in me. I want to remember with my whole self that “forever” is not someday, but now—here and now I, you, we get to glorify God, and enjoy God. It’s what we’re made for.
I want to know that more and more deeply, and I pray that you would know it too.