I love that God is a celebrating God. I love how after each day of creating, God paused, reviewed and declared "This is good!" I love how on the last day, He created the Sabbath. I love how after He did amazing things in the life of His family, He instructed them to celebrate.
Read the following verses from Nehemiah Chapter 12 to be reminded of one example.
"At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites, from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall. I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks."
The Christian God of the Bible is a Celebrating God. As we come into this weekend, we are celebrating 60 years of being one of Jesus' church families. We know God wants us to stop and celebrate with each other; the 60 years of God building His church in us and through us.
Let's get ready for this grand and monumental celebration by remembering what Biblical Celebration is all about in Nehemiah 12.
"At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully." (v 27)
One aspect of celebration is JOYFUL.
Joyful is not happiness and does not depend on your circumstances. Joyful is an inner attitude that comes out of our souls when our souls are deeply connected with our Redeemer and best friend, Jesus. Do others see this inner attitude of joy spilling out of you even when your circumstances are not good? The German philosopher Nietzsche said, "If Christians expect me to believe in their Redeemer they have got to look a lot more redeemed!" The more our souls are closely and regularly connected with Jesus, I think Jesus changes this attitude of joy into a characteristic. Do you have the characteristic of joy?
Another aspect of Biblical Celebration can be seen in verse 30. "When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall."
Purification is a necessary part of celebration.
God is a pure God and we know that impurity cannot genuinely connect with purity. This is why God gave us His Son to live, die and rise from the dead to provide us with His purification solution. In the New Testament, in order to be purified, we need to be honest and confess our impurities to God. When we do not hide them nor blame others for them but simply confess, God joyfully declares, Jesus "who is faithful and just, will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." It is no fun being in a bad relationship with your spouse or a family member. The same is true with our relationship with Jesus. So, let's follow God's desire and example by every day pausing, debrief and let Jesus purify us again.
We also see that Biblical Celebration is about corporate thanksgiving in verse 31. "I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks."
How grateful the Hebrews were to reconnect with God and rebuild the wall. They experienced powerful unity, hard work, caring, serving and protecting each other with God's powerful presence of blessings.
For the past 60 years God has been fully present building His family. Let's gather together sharing stories, enjoying wonderful food and worshiping Jesus who deserves to be honored.
Anticipating a special time of celebrating with all of you Sunday!