The Life of Virtue – Eutrapelia
This common sense and Greek wisdom is found also in the Bible. After the work of creation God rested, teaching us the need for special days and years, times of rest and celebration, Sabbaths and jubilees (Gen 2.2-3; Exod 20.8-11; Lev 23-25). The point of God’s work is to share his delight and happiness with human creatures. God’s wisdom says: ‘I was by his side, a master craftsman, delighting him day after day, ever at play in his presence, at play everywhere in his world, delighting to be with human beings’ (Prov 8.30-31). The Father is the Lord of the Dance (Zeph 3.17-18) who invites us to dance before him as David did before the ark of the covenant (2 Sam 6.16). For the early Christians the dance went on in the paschal experience of Jesus. The resurrection is God’s great joke, at the devil’s expense, an unexpected and witty response to the apparent victory of Satan so that ‘he who sits in the heavens laughs’ (Ps 2). Dance continued in the liturgy, the Lord’s Day was the day of rest and recreation, the holy days became the holidays: a resting in the Lord who pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. Our holidays and Sundays are not just necessary relaxation to rest the bow and gather our strength for the coming week. This rest from our work reminds us that it is God’s world and not ours. The progress of the world depends on Him before it depends on us. Human life is a gift and a grace to be received and lived with joy, so that we may eventually enter the place of rest reserved for God’s people (Heb 4.1-11), God’s place of peace and delight.
Eutrapelia is the virtue that enables us to give ourselves fully to the very serious business of enjoying the delights of friendship and love, family and friends, books and games, wine and Guinness. Some people are fortunate enough to live in places where they can be joyful in the sunshine!