A Figure Transfigured


Here’s a charming quote discovered and posted by Doug Wilson over a year ago. Being exactly the opposite of the so-called “party” image portrayed on TV and in glossy mags, it kind of stuck with me. It is not sinful like they are, yet it is so “incorrect” that it must be true.

“I wish you well. May your table be graced with lovely women and good men. May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity. May your men wear their weight with pride, secure in the knowledge that they have at last become considerable. May they rejoice that they will never again be taken for callow, black-haired boys. And your women? Ah! Women are like cheese strudels. When first baked, they are crisp and fresh on the outside, but the filling is unsettled and indigestible; in age, the crust may not be so lovely, but the filling comes at last into its own. May you relish them indeed. May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us. May there be singing at the table before the night is done, and old, broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men . . . The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it” (Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, p. 180).

What a delightful image! This is a kind of glory the Christian west has largely forgotten. This is the kind of parties we want to be throwing.

To coin a phrase by Douglas Adams, I think the real reason many Christian stuffed shirts disapprove of such gatherings is because they don’t “get invited to those sorts of parties.” What winebibbers those Christians are! In one sense, we get our wings the same way The Hungriest Caterpillar did.

Yes, in the bigger picture, there is still a time for fasting. But our New Covenant feasting is just as glorifying to God. In Esther, the fast lasted for one day and it resulted in the permanent Feast of Purim. The sufferings of David lead to the end of Saul and the feasts of Solomon.

As Christians fast, the world consumes the church (in the same way we “eat Jesus”). That was the theme of the Old Covenant. [1] But when victory comes, as it always, inevitably does, we feast. Then the kings of the earth bring their glory into it: the church consumes the world. This is how it will be until both church and world are transfigured figures.

This is the perfect marriage of thrift and largess, and it takes a king’s wisdom to stay balanced on such a muscular steed.

[1] See Touch Not, Taste Not, Handle Not and Eat Local and Die.

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