Jester in the court of the King?
Over the last year a number of people have asked me about the description of myself on the website header. I thought I'd take a little time to explain...
The term jester is perhaps a little misunderstood. It would seem that the word often begets synonyms such as 'fool' or 'buffoon'. These words do describe some types of jesting but these were most certainly not derogatory terms in their correct context; rather they referred to the type of act being displayed by a highly competent & well practiced performer. We could include harlequin, magician, acrobat, juggler & storyteller as acts that would comfortably sit alongside the term Jester.
Now, all these arts have value in & of themselves, they are fun & bring joy to many people - hence why I have 'practised', or perhaps 'dabbled in', so many of these arts over the years.
Now, we've established that a Jester isn't just someone who simply messes around but someone who has done some degree of hard work. This does not mean that a Jester's work is not fun; just that the hard work and fun have co-existed or even facilitated one another. But the real meat in this self-coined & perhaps self-indulgent(?) self-description (self - self - self) is that it exists entirely to point away from ones self - which as you can, see I'm still in the process of learning!
A Jester performing at your friend's party bring lots of entertainment & laughs; people may well applaud your friend for putting on a great party but the jester would probably be canvassing for more business and taking a fair amount of the admiration himself. A jester in the court of the King however, is performing in a totally different environment. The outcome would be the same, happy guests enjoying the show, but the glory for this would all be going to the King because of his wonderful Jester. In this situation, because of the status of the King the Jester would behave much differently & would certainly not be canvassing more more business, overtly (much how when I play a wedding gig with Straws, we do not advertise ourselves but are simply there to help the happy couple and their friends have a great time). When working for the king, it is even likely that the Jester isn't employed by the King, as such, but a recipient of the King's patronage. To have the kings patronage is to be well kept & provided with all that is needed to live well & to then be able provide wonderful entertainment for the King as well as his family and guests at court.
So, back to me. My aim in life is to work hard & to have a lot of fun as I do. The reason I want to work hard & have a lot of fun is to please my King, my patron; the one who has given me every blessing under heaven; the one who provides for all my needs; the one who called me to create, to have dominion over the earth; to be a good steward of his patronage & to reflect his creativity, beauty & love. My hope is that as I do this, I also bring a lot of joy to the lives of the other people who have been invited to the King's court, that they would think well of him and give their love, admiration & devotion to him realising that he has, in fact, always been their patron!
Thomas Merton says that God does not simply want to change us but that he wants us to "help him to make us into the fullness of what we were created to be" (my paraphrase) and "what greater glory can we give him than by being everything we were created to be?" (which I think was Origen or one of the Desert Fathers - again I've paraphrased). He has been a great King & patron, the best I can do for him is help him to make me into a great Jester by honing my act, trusting in his continued patronage for all the ingredients for life in all its fullness & to not be afraid of not looking a bit silly as I do!
My alarm for waking up in the morning is titled with the WildFire and KKi international's primary goal, 'bring joy to daddy's heart'. This reminds me of the correct motivation to get out of bed. If I'm getting up to learn about good sustainable development practice in Asia, to feed the chickens, to preach a sermon or to play at a trampoline park & go out for dinner I want to do so in such a way as to bring joy to my King, my patron, who gave his his very own life for this rather insignificant Jester in his court.