This is the first in a series of articles in which I will attempt to incorporate poetry (some familiar and some of obscure origin) into an essay or article on a single theme in orthodox essay form or in some imagistic form as I have done here. Note: The style of this piece is designed to arrest the imagination at the outset and to carry it along flowingly in the dance of the celebration. D.L.
And in every moment and minute and hour and second and section of time, for time comes in sections to us (ungodlike), there is atmosphere of good and air of evil and there is room to celebrate. In every part of us in time there is a celebration of good or the festival of evil:
For everything in its season, and for every activity under heaven its time:
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time for mourning and a time for dancing; . . .
So let us therefore, breathing in the wind of the Spirit, celebrate the only good which we know from the Word. Let us celebrate in each section of time (in each section of us) that good which we know from the Word. From the Word we know the good and the goodness of God and so let us celebrate the good and so let us celebrate the goodness and so celebrate God.
- H. Rupp calls celebration an “assent to reality’ in corporate action”1 which is to say:
And motion in the body,
Being moved in the mind
Back to bodily motion
Of ecstatic exultation
And exulted motion of the mind and body
In the ascent to the essence of reality,
Saying, Yes! to realness.
Realness of the good and goodness
And reality of God.
And we know the goodness and the good and God from the Word. Let us then celebrate the knowledge of good in the goodness of exalted movement and let us celebrate.
But since Adam there is the knowledge of evil as well as of goodness and also the celebration of evil in every section of each man’s time. Walt Whitman sings:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as
good as belongs to you.2
Which is to say that he celebrates himself as the essence of all men and celebrates the good of the atoms of Man and he celebrates the good which he knows from each section of Man which are the atoms of the first Adam and he celebrates the good which is no good at all, but evil. But let us not celebrate the evil of the first Adam but let us in our own sections of time celebrate the good of the second Adam which is the Word and which is God and which is good. Let us therefore celebrate in our seconds the second Adam.
Wallace Stevens tells of the horrible festival of man celebrating, not God, but infinite stone:
Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky:
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights.
The trees, like seraphin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whense they come and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest. 3
And Israel in the wilderness celebrated evil and the chosen people celebrated the golden calf which is not half as good as celebrating the good and which is no good at all and no celebration at all but the bodily motions of the dancing in the festival of evil. And therefore let us not bend the knee to the calf but let us bow down in exulted ecstasy of motion of celebration of goodness and the celebration of the good. Let us therefore dance with great abandon as David did in the streets of the holy city and let us dance, abandoning our doubts and abandoning our sin and abandoning ourselves but never abandoning our sure knowledge or our true faith or our holiness; but let us dance, in righteousness, with great abandon, the dance of the celebration of the good and the goodness and the celebration of God. And let us sing in exultation of celebration:
…. a new song to the Lord,
for He has done marvelous deeds;
His right hand and holy arm have won Him victory.
The Lord has made His victory known;
He has displayed His righteousness to all nations.
He has remembered his constancy,
His love for the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Acclaim the Lord, all men on earth,
break into songs of joy, sing psalms.
Sing psalms in the Lord’s honour with the harp,
with the harp and with music of the psaltery. 4
In the festival of evil the Three Dog Night shouts:
Dance to the music.
Which is to say celebrate with your motions in your moments the dance of the music of the festival of evil. But let us dance with our motions in our moments the dance of the exulted ecstasy of the celebration of good and of the celebration of goodness and of the celebration of God. Celebrate!
Dance to the music.
Dance to the music of the spheres
Which sing the glory of God
And the goodness of God.
And dance the dance of the celebration of good.
I celebrate myself.
I celebrate my body in the body of Christ,
I celebrate my mind in the mind of the Spirit
And I celebrate every atom of myself
Which moves in the dance of the celebration
Of the second Adam;
Who is good and who is God.
I celebrate well if I
The only good.
Well, then, let us celebrate in our sections of time the celebration of good, and
the celebration of goodness, and tile celebration of God. Celebrate!
- Rupp, R. H, Celebration in Fiction in the Postwar Years, Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1957.
- Whitman, Walt. The Works of Walt Whitman, Vol. I. “The Collected Poetry,” p. 62. Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1968.
- Stevens. Wallace. “Sunday Morning,” The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957.
- Psalm 68:1-9. The New English Bible.
We are happy to announce the beginning of a new literature department under the direction of Dave Lanting of our Loveland congregation. We trust that the Lord will bless this and all our labor that it may serve to the glory of His holy name.