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Strike up the Band

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Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

Most people of my generation know what that references. In one sense, it represented the desire to party in a negative way. At the same time, it represented an attitude wishing well on a friend. Maybe there’s something to that.

Ancient Israel knew how to throw a party! Most of the feasts and festivals commanded in the Scriptures were true celebrations for them. Through the course of time, smaller ones were added to their calendar as well that might not have had religious overtones, but were important to their national identity.

In the first five verses of Psalm 81 we read this:

Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.

We as Christians could learn something from this. In our churches and small groups (you are involved in a small group, yes?), do we celebrate enough? Do we take the time to strike up the band when any fairly good reason comes along?

Recently, our small group got together for a party since we’re on a break for the summer. We just ate and spoke about each other’s lives. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering but we celebrated the simple joy of being with our Christian brothers and sisters. It wasn’t a deeply theological conversation on the surface, yet, theology is lived out in our lives so in many ways it was intensely theological.

This was also true for the ancient Israelites. Their celebrations were the “living out” of what they believed about God. It was a very practical theology. Think of it this way: if we really believe the Lord causes the sun to rise and fall—meaning, we believe He has set the laws of physics in motion so we enjoy the phenomenon we call sunrise and sunset—shouldn’t we offer a word of praise to Him for this?

In case you don’t know, life is hard. The world is harsh. It’s so easy to get stuck on the negative and before we know it, we aren’t celebrating anything anymore. Then, little by little, our worship begins to lose its passion, our relationships are less life-giving, and our perspective starts to get a little gray.

Instead, as the Lord’s people we have reason to “begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.” We have been set free to truly live. We actually know what living is. Not just as a theological reality but as a practical one as well.

So strike up the band and celebrate the Lord’s goodness in your life! Tell others what He’s done, what’s He’s doing, and what you hope He does. Let’s party! After all, Jesus came to give us LIFE!

Party on!

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