Monday, November 27, 2006

Sad Celebrations

In normal life your celebrations don't usually intersect with your sad times and your sad times aren't typically your times of celebration. When you are sad, you don't really feel like celebrating anything much. The opposite is also true, when you are celebrating, you don't want your good spirits dampened by reasons to be sad. We try our best to keep our sadness and our celebration separate. It just makes life less complicated.

But Jesus has called us to be a sadly celebratory community or a celebratory sad community. Now why is this true? It is true because Jesus calls you to a life of uncompromising honesty and a life of unchallenged hope. If you are going to be honest, really honest, then you are going to be sad. Why, because you cannot be honest without recognizing the horrible legacy of damage that sin has left on each one of us and on the surrounding world. Sin damages us, it damages our relationships, and it damages our environment. There is nothing you will ever examine or experience, this side of eternity, that has not been damaged in some way by sin. The destruction is so widespread it almost leaves you breathless. When you are really honest about how broken the world actually is, you cannot help but be profoundly sad.

Yet, we are not just called to be people of honesty, we are called to be people of hope as well. When you begin to consider how magnificent God's love really is, when you begin to understand how powerful his grace is, and when you begin to realize that God is right now exercising both his love and his grace so that this world would be fully and completely restored, you can't help but celebrate. This God who is the ultimate definition of love and wisdom, will not leave us and the surrounding world alone until we and it are fully and completely restored to what we were meant to be in the beginning.

So we should be the saddest and most celebrant community on earth. And we should be sad and celebratory at the very same time. We are sad becuase we know how bad things actually are and we celebrate because we know that the help that Jesus offers us reaches to the deepest level of our need.

Are you sad at the condition of your world and does your sadness dance with your celebration because you also know how great God's life-transforming grace actually is? When you take those honest looks at your world, have you remembered that God will not quit or rest until he has made all things new?
May both celebration and sadness dance in your heart to the rhythm of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

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May you weep with joy and celebrate with sadness until He makes all things new once again!


At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff on these blogs Paul. And all the best for your missionary journey at the end of the week.

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for expressing what is in my heart. I need gifted people like yourself to communicate this truth. Jeremiah Burroughs says something similar; "...grace teaches us to mingle sorrow and joy together, this is the mystery of contentment...".

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