This is PJ (my youngest) exulting in the foam bubble pool at the Birmingham, AL, zoo last week!
“Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 AMP (emphasis mine)
Here are some synonyms I found for “rejoicing”: elation, delight, jubilation, exuberance, celebration, revelry, merrymaking, euphoria.
This past Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ. In my church, we sang, we clapped, we rang bells, we danced. Many joined hands and skipped up and down the aisles. It was wonderful.
And it shouldn’t be a once-a-year event.
Our senior pastor often reminds us that every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection. Each and every one.
And while we often may arrive at church needing encouragement, needing prayer, needing to weep and confess and be healed…
we ALSO need to rejoice, to engage in elation, delight, jubilation, and exuberance.
It’s a necessity for our souls. It’s a reminder that the troubles and sorrows of this life will not last forever.
This past Sunday, I grinned from ear to ear as I sang “Oh happy day/o happy day/when you washed my sin away” and watched the children—who often lead us into joyous abandon—skip down the aisles, tugging adults along with them. My mouth stretched wider (if possible) as I saw a woman in a motorized wheelchair join their line. She zoomed (carefully, of course) around the corners, small children bouncing behind her. Her joy was infectious.
It was a foretaste of heaven, when we will rejoice in the glory of God.
Except she won’t be in a wheelchair there.
After the service, one of my children whispered to me, “Mom, I wish I’d joined the other kids in skipping through the aisles.”
“Why didn’t you?” I asked.
“I don’t know. A little embarrassed, maybe?”
“Do you regret it now?”
The child nodded.
“Whenever you’re faced with something like that, you need to think ahead. Ask yourself, ‘Will I regret it if I don’t do this?’ If the answer is yes, do it.”
Some of us rejoice more quietly than others. That’s okay. We’re not all dancers. But we still NEED to rejoice fully, without embarrassment. Our souls require rejoicing like our bodies require water. We must join with other believers in this foretaste of heaven, in our understanding that the awful-beautiful sacrifice of our God for us has set us free to love and enjoy Him, to love and enjoy others. We must let our voices belt out, no matter how out of tune they are. We must sing of our redemption.
In public, here on earth, I may never dance like David—or like my insanely rhythmic youngest child. I’m introverted—and awkward. I am, still, a product of my particular culture, my particular upbringing.
But I can rejoice with my full voice, with my whole heart, with the brothers and sisters surrounding me. I can spread my arms high and wide. I can kneel. I can cry. I can clap. I can tap my toes and shuffle my hips in the only dancing I know how to do.
Let’s celebrate Easter again—