In the eighth chapter of the Book of Nehemiah in the Bible, the Jewish people are celebrating a feast in which they are re-accepting God’s law and covenant. It is, they are told by Nehemiah and Ezra, a sacred day but not a somber one:
Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep. Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD.
This all happened about 2,600 years ago, yet the message still reverberates today.
As God’s people, we have a covenant. And it requires us to keep each day holy which means to “Go, eat rich foods…” Which means to savor the abundance that God has provided us. In other words, to live life richly and vibrantly.
But not selfishly. We are called to “allot portions” — to share our abundance with those in need. We don’t live life alone. We live it together.
This is what it means to be holy — to be as fully alive as possible:
To smell the fragrances, aromas
and, yes, odors of the world that God has provided us.
To feel the chill of rushing water,
the warmth of summer sun,
the roughness of tree bark. To hear
the call of birds and the cry of the infant.
To see the beauty of a snowfall,
the joy in the eye of a child and a grandmother.
And, yes, to taste
those “rich foods” and “sweet drinks.”
And to do all this together.
This is the deal God has made with us. He provides life. He expects us to live it.
Patrick T. Reardon