Somehow the idea has grown that God is serious and dull. This really points the finger at the human worshippers of God- we have made a bad mistake if people look at us and see God only as boring or threatening.
Reverence does matter: but it is possible to be joyfully reverent. We don’t always have to be sombre to be holy. There are times to be serious, and we shouldn’t treat Jesus as our “best mate” and go round whipping up shallow emotional responses. But we SHOULD be rejoicing when we remind each other of what the Lord has done.
The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament is not exactly light reading. There is history and detailed instruction as to how Israel should behave and believe. It may surprise us that in Leviticus the Almighty God tells His people to party! Go on, read it.
When Israel came out of slavery, they spent long years as travellers. Food & water were sometimes scarce, or just monotonous “manna”. They lived in tents and shelters made from skins and branches.
God looked after them.
By the time the book of Leviticus was written, the nation was getting used to the idea of a new permanent home.
It was a challenging but exciting era; and they needed to remember all of their past. So, what did God tell them to do? Cut leafy branches, collect willows, and PARTY for seven whole days. “Rejoice” in God’s presence. Remember the deliverance from Egypt. Remember the tough days in tents and booths, and rejoice in the NOW of celebration and blessing.
I don’t think it a coincidence that the first public miracle in the life of Jesus was… wait for it… to change water into wine! To help a wedding go with a swing, laughter, some good food and loads of dancing.
Life is tough. We all know that. Yeah, well, life is tough- but God is good! (cue the song by Randy Stonehill). When the willows burst out with their fluff-ball buds, and the sunshine warms our shoulders, and remember that God has got us out of many troubles… it’s time to party. What, for seven days? We’re out of the habit!
We invite people to “come to church” for an hour or so, and we sing and pray and listen and preach… for an hour or two. I wonder what our neighbours would say if we invited them to join in a week-long big bash of celebrating and rejoicing? Whatever that would be like, it wouldn’t be dull or boring. The message of Jesus is called GOOD NEWS on purpose.
Enjoy the Spring that is bursting out in daffodils and pussy willows. Every time you see some, let it be a reminder that God looks after us. Think back over what He has done- and start partying!