We have spent time the last eight weeks turning our hearts toward God in numerous ways. Directly following a week of lament and acknowledging the pain in our lives that reminds us of our need for the comfort of Christ, it’s now time to turn and be reminded that there is much to celebrate and be grateful for. Jesus is alive and has defeated pain and suffering!
As you go out this week, you may already be in a season of joy and hope, where celebrating is easy. Or you may be struggling to even take one step out of your bed, exhausted and overwhelmed with stress and sorrow.
My favorite passage in the Bible is Psalm 40:1-3: “I waited patiently for the Lord and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and they will trust in the Lord.”
How beautiful it is that we have a loving Father that hears our laments and turns our cries of pain into songs of joy, praise, and celebration!
This week, whichever season you may be in, we have so many reasons to celebrate! Our God has heard our cries and has given us the ultimate gift- the sacrifice of sending His Son Jesus down to Earth to live a human life. He then served us by dying for our sins, in our place, so that we can be reunited with God. Our steps can now be secure, because God then raised Jesus from the dead, defeating death and providing us assurance in a future, eternal life.
We no longer have to worry and can instead have peace and celebrate, knowing that we have been made new in Christ. We are redeemed in Him and have been given new life and a new song, a hymn of praise to shout out so that all can hear!
This is good news! As you take your steps this week, my prayer for you is that you are able to celebrate what has been, what is, and delight in the hope of what will be, whatever your circumstances. I pray you can rejoice in the good news of the Resurrection, expressing your gratitude for a loving God who is making you new.
Individual Practice: What has God made new in your life? Write down 1-3 things that you’ve seen or experienced renewal in (in this season or in your lifetime) and see how many times you can share those things with others this week. Be mindful of time spent in the car with others, around a meal with others, or and the way you communicate through social media or other outlets. Shoot for having at least 3 conversations that celebrate God’s work in renewal in your life this week, but be open for anywhere that God would have you express gratitude for what He has done for you.
Celebrate the risen Christ with your Connection Group this week by having a meal together! Treat your group this week like a big family holiday. Some people in your group may be more used to large family gatherings than others, so be sure to use the gifts, experiences, and ideas of others in the group. Everyone can contribute something (food, games, location, chairs, or just their presence). Take some time as you’re eating to talk about the ways that God has renewed and is renewing you as individuals, as part of the group, and as part of the church.