Today we conclude our Lenten blog series, which has reflected on a different spiritual discipline each week – some inward, others outward; some individual, others corporate. We trust that these spiritual practices will help facilitate God’s formation of your soul. Today’s post was written by Melissa Lowther, our Ministry Associate. It is heavily inspired by Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline.
As we return to our weekly routine after a weekend filled with joyful celebration and rejoicing over the resurrection of Christ, the shouts of “Hallelujah” and “Joyful, Joyful” begin to sound more distant. It is easy to lose sight of the celebration of the risen Christ when we begin to drown in the burdens of our daily life.
Celebration is a discipline
But celebration is a spiritual discipline. It’s something that should define the life of a Christian and be part of our daily practice. Christ’s resurrection provides victory over death, freedom for the captives, canceling of debt, and promise of restoration to our bodies and to all of creation. As people changed by Christ, our lives should also promote redemption and renewal. As we practice restoration and notice it around us, we celebrate that God’s purposes are being accomplished.
Celebration comes from a carefree spirit
But how can we celebrate when our life gets bogged down by discouragement and despair? Philippians 4 instructs us to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (v. 4). This is a pleasant notion, but how do we do this in the midst of our daily stresses? Paul says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v. 6). Our anxiety subsides when we put our full trust in God’s provision of our needs. And as we do so, we are filled with carefree rejoicing.
Celebration comes from honorable thoughts
But along with prayer, Paul instructs us to think on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…anything [that] is excellent or praiseworthy” (v. 8). As we surround ourselves by these things and meditate on them, we are filled with joy. Our problems don’t disappear, but our thoughts become dominated by the faithful and good work of God in the world and in our lives. We are more easily able to rest in God and celebrate our life in Him.
Celebration comes from doing
Not only are we to think about good things, but we are to obediently engage in God’s global restoration project (Luke 11:28). Here are some suggestions for how to practice renewal and celebrate the work of God:
- Sing a song of praise to God and thank him for his goodness and love. Here are some songs to get you started.
- Engage in an earth-restoring activity on Earth Day, which is this Saturday, April 22. Plant a tree, pick up trash in the park, put out a bird feeder, start composting, or go vegetarian for the day.
- Dance for joy and invite others to dance with you! On Friday, May 12, NSCBC will be hosting a Decades Dance. We will celebrate the music, food, and style of the decades.
- Be creative and cultivate the creativity of others. One way to think on things that are lovely and admirable is to create them and celebrate what others create.
- Share stories of where you notice God working in the world or in your life. How has the Gospel given you hope in the midst of your day?
- Laugh! Don’t take yourself so seriously. 🙂
In these situations, the power of Christ’s resurrection is redeeming our work and our play. It is transforming us and those around us. Our obedient response to God is cause for celebration.