“Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.” - Luke 15:23
This coming Monday is Memorial Day - a day we’ve set aside for generations to remember the brave men and women who have served this nation and given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in service of peace. It’s so wonderful to drive down Pike Street and look up and see the names and faces of so many from this area who have served nobly - what a great way to remember!
Memorial Day is also long weekend and the unofficial kick-off to Summer. Banquets and cook-outs, graduation parties, weddings, trips to the beach, the camp and the cottage and getting together with friends and family we don’t get to see as often during the rest of the year.
Unfortunately, we don’t always do a good job of integrating these parties and our Christian lives. We don’t always connected our parties with friends to our following of Jesus. And it’s a shame.
Jesus’ very first miracle was at a party. A wedding party. He turned ordinary water into extraordinary wine… for people who’d already had more than enough to drink! Routinely, Jesus showed up as a guest at parties, so much that he became known as a friend of sinners - those who’d rather party than show up at temple on the Sabbath!
And throughout the Old Testament, God is constantly calling his people to celebrate - not just for a day, but weeklong festivals where no work would be done! And then every fifty years… they were supposed to take an entire year to rest and celebrate. Imagine that!
Celebrating is not bad.
Parties are not evil.
God calls us to be about both.
We are to be wise about how we celebrate and party, for sure! But we shouldn’t deny the God-given-desire to celebrate, to spend time frivolously even. There is something special, something powerful, something holy even, in our celebrating that points us toward God.
Wherever you are this weekend or this summer - at the pool or in your backyard, at camp or on a beach a thousand miles away, around the table or a roaring fire - know that God is with you and celebrates with you.
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus - one celebration at a time!