Friday, July 2, 2010

Celebration (and recognizing the reign of God in unexpected places)

My heart is full! What a blessing to be in the Village last night. Beautiful weather, beautiful people, beautiful projects (links to pics at the end of this post). And the kingdom of God growing all around us.

We've been learning this week about celebration and its centrality to the life of the people of God. Contrary to what most folks on the street might think, Christians ought to be quite the party animals! We're a faith rooted in celebrations of the past (think the Exodus, reframed and reimagined in the Eucharist/Lord's Supper, or the Pentecost/Festival of Weeks/Shavout reinvigorated by the coming of the Spirit) and a people whose daily lives together ought to be marked uniquely by that same spirit of celebration. That's what's going on when Luke describes the early church meeting together daily, sharing meals from house to house, eating their food with exuberant rejoicing (the NKJV's "gladness" does no justice to the Greek word behind it) and singleness of heart, selling their possessions and giving their excess generously. Why? Well, in part I think it's because they recognized that the most important work was already done. In the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Kingdom of God had been distinctly and very certainly inaugurated. Things were different than they were before, and God had invited them to begin living and inviting others to experience the "joy of their Lord".

But we're not good at celebrating. And we've got all kinds of reasons for that...even "spiritual", Christian-sounding reasons. We're so often suspect of folks who seem to be having too much fun, who are too positive, who are too open with their comments of thankfulness and joy. What the heck is that? Insecurity, fear, doubt, misunderstanding, depression...what is it for you? What is it for me?

So we decided that we'd lay those things aside this week and have a party! Last night we cheered for people...just for who they are. We celebrated simple things like scissors (think how hard life might be without these ingenious simple machines!). We played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on birthday noisemakers (should have recorded it!). And we told each other how glad we were to be together. Oh yeah...and we had cupcakes, because what's a celebration without cupcakes?

Sound simple? Trite, maybe? Childish? It's not. It's the reign of God, taking root in a place some folks would never expect it.

Actually, the kingdom's been present there for a long time, in secret places and in not so secret's mostly just that our eyes are being opened to its invigorating, freeing presence. The Kingdom of God is slowly but surely overtaking the Kingdom of Rob, the Kingdom of Kevin, the Kingdom of Vanessa...and in a lot of ways, we couldn't be happier for the overthrow!

Love to each of you (whoever you might be:-) in the humble King!

"People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:15-17

Find pictures here.


  1. Thanks, Liz, for making the album public for the non-facebookers! I can see them now and they're great!