(Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
The day after many Americans officially began their pursuit of the perfect vacation, Seattle-based megachurch Pastor Mark Driscoll took the opportunity to ask, "Why do we live for the summer?"
In his blog on Thursday, Driscoll also wrote that he believes the pursuit of the perfect summer experience is an attempt to find the paradise lost by Adam and Eve.
"School is finally out, the sun is making an occasional cameo appearance here in Seattle, and many of us are preoccupied with planning the perfect summer," Driscoll began his post titled "What's Your Paradise?"
While many Americans make sure to include plenty of the typical summer activities, such as fairs, festivals, and going on "desperately needed vacations," a persistent question remains, he said.
"Why are we planning these things? Why do we live for the summer and spend our hard-earned money relentlessly pursuing that perfect place or that perfect day? Perhaps all the festivals and vacations are simply our way of looking for paradise and practicing for heaven," Driscoll states.
According to the Bible, the original paradise was created by God as a gift to enjoy by Adam and Eve and share with the generations, he said.
"Tragically, however, our first parents sinned against God, wrongly thinking they could live life on their own terms – in effect, functioning as their own gods. Because of our separation from the living God, death entered paradise, infecting everyone and affecting everything," he explains.
"Now instead of enjoying paradise, we seek it out by booking airline flights, gassing up our cars, hiking in the woods, and biking to the beach. Deep down we feel homeless and restless."
Because "paradise is lost," our attempts at experiencing that perfect day or place often leads to disappointment because "sin is also there and things are not as perfect as we had hoped for: we get sunburned, seasick, or bumped off our flight on the way home from searching for paradise, left to wander through the airport, which is perhaps the best earthly illustration of all for what hell must be like."
In his post, Driscoll then begins to compare the paradise found in heaven for believers in Jesus Christ to a "never-ending summer vacation."
"According to Isaiah the prophet (25:6–9), this eternal summer vacation in paradise is marked by a feast – one so extraordinary as to make even the best summer grilling party look like a microwaveable Hot Pocket. This feast will have wine that doesn't come out of a box, plenty of carbohydrates, an end to war, an end to death, an end to tears, no election recounts, and no cell phones. The feast would mark the beginning of a perpetual street party with music, dance, and art from people representing all nations of the earth," Driscoll describes.
Christians have "done a terrible job of marketing paradise" even though many people are searching for paradise, he wrote.
"Somehow, word has wrongly gotten around that paradise is an utterly boring, fluffy, white cloud akin to the cotton candy that we sit on all day while wearing diapers and strumming harps," Driscoll explains. "So, it's no wonder so many people are going to hell and don't seem to mind."
He concludes by encouraging everyone to enjoy their summer, but to remember "it's only a shadow of the party to come when Jesus shows up with paradise in tow."