Private parties are pretty selfish

I think people forget that the Bible is full of feasts and celebrations. God wants people to celebrate and rejoice and spend time together remembering all that He has done for them, and I’m not exactly sure when that became uncool. I mean, does anybody really do that in the States? We have parties, yes. We have “fellowship time” I guess, but do we ever just have a party with the sole purpose of celebrating what God has done for us? Kind of sounds like fun, actually.

I don’t take enough time to celebrate like I should. I thank Him for what He’s done, yes. I do that frequently, but to actually stop and mark the day and slow down long enough to focus on being thankful is difficult for me. I’m not a scholar about this sort of thing, but if I remember correctly the Jewish calendar is packed full of feast days and celebrations. And not just one-day celebrations. Week-long celebrations. Sometimes longer, if memory serves. Now that’s a party.

Random marching band coming down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

Random marching band coming down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

Today’s verses are Psalm 63:3-8.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

When my brother and I were in Edinburgh at the beginning of our UK trip, we were walking down the Royal Mile looking for a place to eat. We had stopped to listen to a bagpiper play in the doorway of a government building, and then we heard the unmistakable sound of a marching band. I still don’t know what this marching band was doing, coming up the Royal Mile with their drums and instruments and banners. There were five or six groups of them, all in different uniforms, all different ages.

I didn’t think much of it until now, honestly, but I’m sure they were commemorating something. Maybe it was a holiday. Maybe it was an anniversary. Who knows? What matters is that when they appeared, people stopped to watch them, to listen. If you look closely at this photo, there’s even a guy videoing them. Shoot, I even took pictures. I have no idea what they were celebrating, but it was enough for me to want to remember it.

Here’s the point, Christians. Our God is awesome. He’s everything, or at least He should be. He loves us especially when we don’t deserve His love, He never gives up on us, and He never leaves us. He’s working everything in our lives out for good, and we can trust Him. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our relationship with Him. I love what David said in the Psalm today because it really just expresses so many of the things I want to tell God. But I can tell Him those things in private. That’s perfectly fine. I can celebrate in private. That’s fine too. But private parties are pretty selfish, don’t you think?

I don’t know what these marching band folks were celebrating, but it was a big enough deal for them to get dressed up and march for ages in funny outfits. It was a big enough deal that it made me stop in my tracks and pay attention.

Celebrating what God has done in our lives is something that should be public, and it’s worth slowing down for. I’m working on learning how to do that because it’ll be good for me and because I’m convinced it’s the best way to introduce others to Christ. If the only Christ others know is the one we ram down their throats, why would they have any interest in getting to know Him? My Jesus is my best friend. I talk to Him all the time. I tell Him everything, and I know He hears me. And I love telling people what He’s done for me because I absolutely don’t deserve any of it but for some reason He decided to trust me.

So slow down. Look at your life. What has God for you today? Maybe it’s small. Maybe it’s not. In any case, He still did it, and that’s worth celebrating. So party it up. Rejoice. Celebrate! And let others see you do it. Be ready to tell them why you’re celebrating so maybe they can begin to wrap their heads around the fact that following Christ isn’t about rules or stuffy old church buildings–that it’s about living life with Jesus and the joy is so great it’s difficult to comprehend. Who knows? Maybe someone who doesn’t believe will stop and listen.

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