Maybe you’ve seen the movie Dead Poets Society. Robin Williams plays the role of a new teacher at a traditional private school. In an important scene in the movie, he gathers his students around a glass cabinet in the hallway full of pictures of past athletes and award-winning teams from the school. Many of those athletes are now dead. He asks his students to imagine what these past heroes might say to them if they were here today, and while they do so, he walks around whispering “carpe diem.” The scene is set for the rest of the movie in which the boys seek to squeeze the life out of their remaining school days.
Solomon’s philosophy is that all mortal beings should “seize the day.” But the biblical “carpe diem” is an expression of faith and not self-fulfillment. It isn’t the greedy chase after everything that makes us feel good in the moment, but it is a life lived with joy knowing everything we have is a gift from God. It is a worshipful response to the God who created it all.
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