Even though I selected the topic for our blog posts this week, I was pretty uncomfortable doing so because I knew I would have to write about it eventually. Of anyone I know, I am the least likely to show a lot of emotion or “party” as it were. I hate going to weddings that have dances where the general expectation is you dance and have a good time. Makes me uncomfortable.
The thing is, I don’t know how to party. It isn’t in my DNA. As a textbook introvert a party to me is watching baseball by myself with a snack and a glass of wine. That sounds like a party to me.
But on a grander level, I think many folks my age have a hard time connecting the ideas of faith and celebration. If we are really honest, it is tough to celebrate what can be the really abstract idea of a man dying on a cross over 2000 years ago for my wrongdoing so God will accept me. Maybe it is just me, but it is a hard thing to truly “celebrate”.
Some would say knowing we have been saved from the fires of hell and will go to heaven is something to celebrate. I am not discounting this is a reason to celebrate and be happy, but this can also be something a little more abstract and hard to really get our heads around as something to celebrate.
So what kinds of things to people celebrate in general?
– major transitions
I’m sure there are many other reasons to celebrate, but my questions is – can there be something tangible and present for Christians to celebrate? In other words, what has God done for us through the personhood of Jesus that not only amazes us, but gives us reason to celebrate?
Quick note – Before I go any farther, I hope the reader doesn’t infer we can’t celebrate the more abstract tenants of the Christian faith. I really think you can. My main purpose here is to think through things that can be celebrated – but also seen and witnessed. For many years the church has leaned more on the past than the present as evidence of what God is up to in the world. This is one of the reasons the church is in decline, I think.
Living in a more connected world, we have a front row seat to the human atrocities in the world around us. From beheadings to genocide to ebola, most of what we see and hear is horrible news. The fact we have lived on this earth as long as we have without wiping each other off the planet is remarkable.
But, we find something different in the Gospel of Jesus. In the personhood of Christ, we find the complete opposite of what we see in the violent world we live in. For the first time we see God in a way that makes more sense and is better. Because of Jesus, we do not have to repay violence for violence. We don’t have to fear. We learn how to live unselfishly and with freedom from guilt and with joy.
Because, living life the way Jesus showed is something quite different and revolutionary than anything we see around us. It is not a safe and secure way to live, but takes courage and determination to love those around us without any expectation the love will be returned.
Our possessions are no longer our own. Our time is for others and not for ourselves. We live with the expectation that others will be better because we are living like Jesus did.
Read through Acts 2:42-47. Read it a few times. This is the picture I see when I talk about these things. Because of the way they lived, all of the people were amazed. There was great joy and expectation in that community and people could not help but take notice.
To me, the fact that God thought enough of us to teach us how to truly love each other is worth celebrating. Instead of tossing away a rebellious people, he chose instead to give us Jesus to reveal what he had in mind all along.
How does this strike you? Is learning how to truly love people worth celebrating? What is something you think is worth celebrating?