Written by Craig Denison
I was reading in Mark 2 today when I came across a statement from Jesus in response to why his disciples weren’t fasting like John the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees. Jesus said, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Mark 2:19-20 NLT).
I’m discovering lately that I don’t value celebration like Jesus did. Throughout his ministry Jesus was frequently at weddings, having dinner at someone’s house or simply enjoying his closest friends. And while Jesus’ ministry was absolutely marked by challenging statements, pointed rebukes and righteous anger, he seemed to really celebrate as well.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” I’ve understood the spiritual merit of weeping and mourning. I see the value in evangelism, tough conversations, leading worship and writing. But I don’t think I categorize laughing and dancing in the same way. I’ve allowed God to be present in the bad times. I’ve made him Lord of those things in which I need his help. But when things are going well I act as if God is off to number next. When there’s really something to celebrate I act as if God is waiting for the next bad thing to come so he’s got something to do.
And because I don’t see rightly Jesus’ value of celebration I don’t really value it either. I’m the guy at weddings in the corner having a deep conversation with one individual. I’m the guy who thinks of everything that needs to be fixed after I speak, lead worship or write rather than celebrating in the power and presence of God. And honestly I think I'm a little worn out by it all. And if I'm being honest, maybe God is too.
I sense God drawing me to himself in this season. I sense him longing to celebrate with me rather than just work together. I sense him longing for a deeper relationship, one that weeps, laughs, mourns, and dances together. I sense him wanting to take time to simply enjoy one another with no ulterior motive. And man does that sound nice.
Where is God longing to celebrate with you today? When can you take time to laugh and rejoice with your heavenly Father.
May the example of the father in the story of the prodigal son inspire us to rejoice in the truth that our God celebrates us even when we don’t see something worth celebrating in ourselves.
"And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20-24