First Day: The Practice of Celebration
For this series on Spiritual Practices, I will be resourcing the beautiful book called, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (Practices that Transform Us) by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
May the Son of God who is already formed in you grow in you – so that for you he will become immeasurable, and that in you he will become laughter, exultation, the fullness of joy which on one can take from you. Isaac of Stella
Quote from the book: In worship we fall into the arms of God and say “Have your way with me.” The early church fathers sometimes spoke of a dancing Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit moved together in a rhythm of self-giving love. Worship is a response to God’s invitation to join the dance. It is a way we tap into what is true about us – we do desire God.
Jeremiah found reason to delight and hope in God even in lament.
The world is filled with reasons to be downcast. But deeper than sorrow thrums the unbroken pulse of God’s joy, a joy that will yet have its eternal day. To set our hearts on this joy reminds us that we can choose how we respond to any particular moment. We can search for God in all circumstances, or not. We can seek the pulse of hope and celebration because it is God’s reality. Heaven is celebrating. Right now, the cherubim, seraphim, angels, archangels, prophets, apostles, martyrs and all the company of saints overflow with joy in the presence of their Creator. Every small experience of Jesus with us is a taste of the joy that is to come. We are not alone – and that in itself is reason to celebrate.
My Experience in this practice in real life:
I am doing this practice the day ahead so that I am with you and can share a little bit to encourage you. So, this morning I woke up and said, “Today I am practicing celebration.” I had already asked my husband to join me and keep me accountable. Everything was going well until mid-morning, when a call came in that presented a huge truckload of sorrow for both my husband and myself. The kind of speechless kind. Now, what to do with celebration?
Personally, I don’t believe that we are to shut down our emotions. They need space and expression. The problem for me arises when I camp there and let them drive the bus. So I give them space, cry if I want to (remember that old song?!), invite Jesus in to speak to me and then I must release it at least momentarily so that I don’t have the whole day robbed...or sometimes longer than that!
In these kinds of hard situations where the bottom seems to fall out, I find that I can only celebrate who God is, and all the ways He has been faithful all the other times the bottom fell out. I realized near the end of yesterday that the practice of celebration is not denial of any emotion but rather a total act of faith, believing in the unseen work of the Trinity to bring goodness. I remember these verses from Psalm 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
1. Where are you most prone to celebrate God? Alone? With others? In worship? In music” In nature?
2. What does this tell you about how God made you and how you most naturally meet with him?
3. Is there a heaviness about you, an overly serious side or an entrenched critical spirit? How might celebrating God affect tehse traits and move you into new areas of transformation?
Join me for one day to celebrate. Here are a few ideas from the book but do your own thing if you want!
- Go to the place where you are most encouraged to celebrate God: nature, listening to music, solitude, etc. Tell God about the joy you receive here.
- Intentionally place yourself into the presence of God. Recall all of His gifts, provisions, guidance and love toward you. Write a song of celebration, make a collage, dance, or memorize a verse of praise.
- Consider how God loves you. Read Zephaniah 3:17. Then be still and listen. How is God celebrating you?!