Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Commonplace Book I - Rejoice Evermore!

Dear Reader,

I've just finished watching (for the second time) the HBO miniseries on John Adams that came out a couple years ago. I recommend it to anyone interested in a refreshingly accurate depiction of the life of one of our nation's Founders.

The final episode, entitled Peacefield, contains one of my favorite scenes in the entire series: Now an old man, Adams is walking with his son Thomas through a cornfield when he leans in close and says to Thomas, as though imparting a great secret, "I have seen a queen of France bedecked with eighteen million livre of jewels, and yet it is not fairer to me than that little shrub right there." and he points to a clump of ragweed. "Rejoice evermore!" he concludes. Thomas asks him what he means, and Adams repeats himself several more times: "Rejoice evermore!" finally chiding his son for not recognizing the quote from St. Paul.

In 1 Thess. 5 we find this quote in context: "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thess. 5:16-22 KJV)

That, I would say, pretty much says it all: What simple joys we choose to ignore, or overlook, in our quest for what we think will provide us satisfaction and happiness! What cause do we who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb have to spend our days in any other mood than a humble, thankful joy?

I pray that I might learn to live more in that mood of joyful gratitude. As John Adams said: "Oh, how I wish those words had been always in my heart and on my lips."

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