Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Celebration

    (Clif Davis)

    John Ortberg, in his book "The Life You’ve Always Wanted," talks about the practice of celebration. When I first read this book I was astounded by this chapter. How often had I equated discipline with punishment, becoming like Christ with painful work, and the Christian life with drudgery. This is not what God intends for us! We can practice finding joy. We can be disciplined to choose delight in God’s goodness over the drudgery of self.

    The Old Testament is full of feast days to help us interrupt our busy lives to taste and see that the Lord is Good! Our singing, eating and dancing with people we love can focus on the great God who gave these wonderful gifts to us.

    Children often celebrate the simplest details. My two year old can be ecstatic to just get his shoes on the correct feet! Sometimes he will even take them off just to do it again!! So when Jesus tells us to become like children in order to see the kingdom of heaven Matthew 18:3, could it be that child-like joy is the key?

    G. K. Chesterton, a Christian writer and apologist, explains about child-like joy in his book “Orthodoxy:”

    Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again” and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

    What will you celebrate today? A God that is always giving us gifts? Or will your celebration be limited by a grasping for personal gratification? As John Ortberg put it “Personal gratification always follows the law of diminishing returns, so that what produce joy in us yesterday no longer does today… Celebration is not like that. When we celebrate, we exercise our ability to see and feel goodness in the simplest gifts of God. We are able to take delight today in something we wouldn’t have even noticed yesterday. Our capacity for joy increases.”

    Write us here, "at the blog," and tell us about where you found joy in God today.… Where did you see God say “Do it again!”

    6 comments:

    Scott R. Davis said...

    Yes, I agree that entropy or the law of diminishing returns is a tool that the devil uses since we have that fleeting glimpse of satisfaction this one and only time. Yet, as the source of satisfaction draws near, the ultimate target is yanked away. To be chased again. As Solomon said, life is chasing after the wind. He should know since he experienced it first hand.

    For being like a child, it is fun for me to exult in simple things in life like going to a listening meeting for the buses=to talk and be around people that experience what I do in riding buses.

    And as christians, getting together to identify with life and with one who risked His life so we may live beyond our finite existence on earth. Doing simple things together like coffee hour and communion and blogging and praying.

    So let us not forget to get together and exult in the very simple and yet profound of things. Getting to know ourselves, our God and our human potential. Let's go Jesus!!!!!!

    Our ultimate ruler on earth and in Heaven. So let us celebrate with open hearts and hands and a pure mind.

    Anonymous said...

    I remember when the choir sang Psalm 1 a few months ago at church on Sunday. They sang " celebrate today, celebrate always"...I remember that and it spoke to me in a powerful way.

    When we read the Psalm and it said "and his delight is in the law of the Lord....that says it all.

    Don said...

    Where do I see God saying, "Do it again?" Traffic on I-95 is a one answer to that question. I hate it. It keeps me from where I want to be. It starts my day off too slowly. It forces me to feel inefficient. Is it possible that God would "allow" this event in my morning day after day to teach me something? Is it possible that God allows monotony in my life to teach me a lesson that I take forever to learn--"How do I demonstrate thankfulness in all things?" Is it possible that my ability to give thanks in all things is often one of the greatest symptoms of a life lived in close proximity to the Father?

    Kathe Garoffolo said...

    Our house was infested with ladybugs this winter and early spring. They were everywhere! At first, I was not very happy that they were here...they were a nuisance, live ones crawling and flying around, dead ones collecting on window sills and on the floor in front of windows and doors. I went online to research the ladybug and find out why they were here, if they were harming my house in any way, etc. I found out that ladybugs are usually attracted to light colored houses. When they find one they like, they leave their scent (pheromones) on the wood to "advertise" that this is a good place to spend the winter to other ladybugs. These pheromones stay on your house from year to year. Ladybugs winter inside the house, living off of their own body fat (did you know ladybugs had body fat???!). They need humidity to stay alive, that is why you will find them in the bathroom or near windows and doors. I really began looking at the ladybugs after this (feeling very sorry for them that they had nothing to eat all winter). I was amazed to see that they all look different--some are light orange, some dark orange, true red, deep red. Some have no spots, just a couple spots, many spots, spots arranged in different patterns. The internet says there are about 500 species of ladybugs in the U.S. and about 5,000 world wide (WHO counted them all?)! Take a look around at other bugs...flies with their iridescent blue-green color and fuzzy looking hairs all over their bodies, dragon flies and sewing needles, bumble bees with fuzzy yellow and black stripes. God made everything around us so intricate, down to the lowliest bugs. Nature is just filled with these intricacies, I delight in our Creator just being outside!

    Sister Cindy said...

    I would have to disagree with Mr. Ortberg when he says "what produces joy in us yesterday no longer does today". I get to work with kids. and if there is a group that is more joyful then happy kids, I'd like to see it! If we could just be like them, living in the moment, accepting the love of Jesus on a minute-by-minute basis with very few questions asked--what a wonderful world this would be! Kids are my "happy thought". They bring me joy everyday, and when I think about the fact that I get to tell them that Jesus loves them on a daily basis, I'm glad that every year, every day, God tells me to "Do that again!!!"

    Anonymous said...

    Where I found God, in the last week, was on a ship. There were many "do it again" encores: eating great food; continual care for your needs; and the constant rocking of the waves, along with the endless water and sky. These, intersperced with conversations, scripture, prayer and meditation were an eternal blessing. ~ In Him, Lisa Hnath