Tantalus was a Greek mythological figure, who upset the Gods. His punishment was to stand in a pool of water beneath a luscious fruit tree with low branches.
When he reached up to pick fruit it moved away; when he bent down to have a drink the water moved away. Food and drink was there but unattainable.
From Tantalus comes the word ‘tantalise’ (tantalize)… something I can see but can’t quite obtain…
…Chatting to several ‘older’ people this week… struggling to remember the name of someone they know well… the name’s just out of reach… tantalising!
… A poster in the dentist’s earlier this week: ‘Don’t you deserve the smile of your dreams?’ Reality or just tantalising?
Musing on several ‘tantalising’ quotes including:
Actor William Shatner, (Star Trek’s Captain Kirk): ‘The mysteriousness and mystique of space is such, that science fiction attempts to tantalize you by telling you a story that could possibly be out there and that’s the appeal of science fiction.’
The best fiction tantalises… you imagine you’re there… but of course you’re not…
Oswald Chambers, Christian writer: ‘If Jesus is a teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalize us by erecting a standard we cannot come anywhere near. But if by being born again from above we know Him first as Saviour, we know that He did not come to teach us only. He came to make us what He teaches we should be.‘
Does Christianity tantalise… presenting standards, unattainable ideals that are impossible to live up to or discover?
Reports on the response of Ukrainian Christians to the war has been impressive. They’ve found particular comfort and strength from Psalm 31… : ‘You are my rock and my fortress… lead me and guide me… But I trust in you , O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies…’
This isn’t a tantalising, out of reach faith, but it’s solid, deep and sustaining.