Recreation has come to mean having fun, often if not usually actively, and often involves vacationing with lots of activities. It is not uncommon to need a vacation after a vacation because not much recreating has gone on, that is renewing, reviving, or restoring, in busy vacations.
I remember an acronym for busy:
We human beings are designed to need recreating rest daily in sleep, weekly from our toils, and regularly throughout the year to reconnect with who we are and detoxify from the pollution of life. Without this kind of recreation, we become weary, worn, and warped.
So what is a better form of recreation? Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline discusses the recreating power of meditation, noting that the significant difference between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation is the difference between emptying and filling.
Eastern meditation stresses the need to become detached from the world, emptying oneself, losing one’s individual personhood to merge with the Cosmic Mind, as one does is seeking the Nirvana, the extinction of desire and individual consciousness. There is no personal God to be attached to. The goal is to be free from burdens and pains of the reality of life. Detachment is the ultimate goal.
Christian meditation, on the other hand, goes beyond detachment to emphasize an attachment to God. Rather than having us withdraw from the world, it redirects us to be able to deal with life. We are not led to be ethereal to our humanity, but rather we are empowered to be more fully compassionate in our humanity. Through communion and communication with the God who loves us and wants us to dwell in His omnipresence, we are filled with His love to be recreated for loving others.
Jesus took time to be alone with God to be renewed, to pray, to be quiet, to rest. I wonder what He might think of our modern version of recreating. I am not against having rip-roaring fun. That has its place. However, if the only recreation we know is at the frenetic pace of busy and we don’t rest contemplatively to recreate, we lose more than we gain. We miss out on something profoundly rejuvenating and fulfilling, a recreation we were made for, and we settle for tired, tattered, and twisted.
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