Eat, Drink, Die

Last weekend was sunny and balmy, and a friend asked me to accompany him to Blackpool. The place was packed. I don’t think there was a council estate within a 50-mile radius that retained any of its denizens; they were all at the famous Lancashire seaside resort. The piers were groaning under the weight of the punters, the amusement arcades were packed and the prom crowded with families and hen parties. We bought a pair of ice-creams, which set up back £12- I nearly choked on hearing the news. Everywhere, people were eating and drinking, queuing for fairground rides, inspecting stalls’ wares and trinkets, examining new designs at the dozens of tattoo parlours that seem to have sprung up. The traffic on the prom was heavy; gypsies were offering rides in pink, horse-drawn carriages and white Rolls Royces deposited brides at the seashore wedding chapel, all adding to the bustle.

It was all terribly vulgar. Living for pleasure. Filling bellies and downing booze. It brought to mind a phrase Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15:32, a passage I had been preparing to preach the following day:

If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

-which he quotes from Isaiah 22:13. This is not unlike the saying of the rich farmer in Luke 12:19, who adds merriment to his eating and drinking. All three activities were much evidenced at Blackpool that Saturday. As Paul suggested, it was a godless bacchanalia, the product of a gross spiritual deficit. By ignoring the truth of the resurrection of the dead, the hedonists of Blackpool filled their bellies and bladders but neglected the deadened spirits within them. If this short and fleeting life is all you have got- go ahead; get bladdered and sloshed. Waste your coppers in slot machines and rot your teeth on candy floss. But if you are a child of God, a citizen of the world to come, a believer in Christ’s wonderful resurrection:

-be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58