We are still in Scotland...
Saturday we attended the Loch Lomand Highland Games at Balloch, Scotland. It was a great day of fun and real Scottish cross-cultural experience. These were real Scots participating in Scottish heritage not Scottish-wanna-bes. (Although a friend of mine says: There are two kinds of people in the world - Scots and those who wish they were)
There were lots of people, a lot of mud (it rains a lot in Scotland) and bagpipe music filled the air as multiple bands played and practiced in all directions.
The games were mostly held in a relatively flat area called The Arena. It was an elliptical area cordoned off from the general area by sectional metal barriers. The Arena itself was then divided into sections: to the left was an area where numerous Pipe Bands (bagpipes and drums) were judged in competition. They all sounded great to me! They marched into the Arena playing; they circled around the bass drum and played a selection or two and then they marched out playing.
To the right of the Arena there was an athletic competition area where kilted big-muscled men tossed the caber, threw the hammer, put the shot and wrestled. There was an international championship being decided in some sort of heavyweight division. Around it all was a track where competitions of bicycle races alternated with foot races.
As I stood leaning on the rail, the astonishing sounds of bagpipes and drums filling the air, a light muck of Scottish mud beneath my feet and an oatmeal biscuit (cookie) in my pocket left from lunch, I heard the loudspeaker say in a thick Scottish brogue, "Ready, set..." and then the crack of the starter's pistol shot! In my mind I was taken back to a scene in the movie Chariots of Fire.
It was at Highland Games like the one we were attending, where Eric Liddle, wrestling with his call to cross-cultural missions says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
And I'm concerned that many people never actually feel God's pleasure in anything they do. I'm concerned that for many church is a drudgery, their job a dulling necessity, their family a boring reality and feeling God's pleasure something for others. Perhaps something of a religious mythology, but not for them.
Many Believers feel only that "falling short" kinda feeling and miss out on the pleasure side. And I'm pretty sure that it's because they've never known how to feel God's pleasure. They've never known how because they were never told that they should and could expect to please God.
And I know it's only a movie and a sanitized rendition of history, but the best line in the movie is when Eric says, "When I run I feel His pleasure." What a powerful testimony of grace. Now, I've never run far enough or well enough to feel His pleasure in running. But I can say that often when I speak and often when I challenge others to greatness and when I engage others in worldview-shifting conversation, I feel His pleasure. It's that deep, deep sense that God is pleased with me. And of course, when I feel that pleasure, I am humbled. I sense that somehow, what I've done has pleased God.
But it also feels good. Really really good to sense His pleasure.
Anyway, while I stood there in Balloch amid all the grandeur of Scottish culture, I was reminded of a Scotsman who felt God's pleasure and was challenged to make sure that others felt and understood it too.
So go ahead, indulge yourself. Do something that pleases God. Enjoy.