A Sad And Celebratory Community
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). This is the call to all of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Someone in our congregation passed the article below on to me on the day we all heard about Dan Leeper’s dad, Ron, going home to be with the Lord. In light of a dear brother and his family going through such pain, how should the living “take it to heart”? (Eccles.7:2) Paul David Tripp said it much better than I ever could. Read and be encouraged.
In normal life your celebrations don't usually intersect with your sad times and your sad times aren't typically your times of celebration. When you’re sad, you don't really feel like celebrating anything much. The opposite is also true; when you’re celebrating, you don't want your good spirits dampened by reasons to be sad. We try our best to keep our sadness and our celebration separate. It just makes life less complicated.
But Jesus has called us to be a sadly celebratory community, or a celebratory sad community. Why is this true? Because Jesus calls you to a life of uncompromising honesty and a life of unchallenged hope. If you’re going to be honest--really honest--then you’re going to be sad. Why? Because you can’t be honest without recognizing the horrible legacy of damage that sin has left on each one of us and on the surrounding world.
Sin damages us, it damages our relationships, and it damages our environment. There’s nothing you’ll ever examine or experience, this side of eternity, that hasn’t been damaged in some way by sin. The destruction is so widespread it almost leaves you breathless. When you’re really honest about how broken the world actually is, you can’t help but be profoundly sad.
Yet we’re not just called to be people of honesty, we’re called to be people of hope as well. When you begin to consider how magnificent God's love really is, when you begin to understand how powerful his grace is, and when you begin to realize that God is right now exercising both his love and his grace so that this world would be fully and completely restored, you can't help but celebrate. This God who’s the ultimate definition of love and wisdom won’t leave us and the surrounding world alone until we and it are fully and completely restored to what we were meant to be in the beginning.
So we should be the saddest and most celebrant community on earth. And we should be sad and celebratory at the very same time. We’re sad because we know how bad things actually are, and we celebrate because we know that the help that Jesus offers us reaches to the deepest level of our need.
Are you sad at the condition of your world and does your sadness dance with your celebration because you also know how great God's life-transforming grace actually is? When you take those honest looks at your world, have you remembered that God won’t quit or rest until he's made all things new?
May both celebration and sadness dance in your heart to the rhythm of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and may you weep with joy and celebrate with sadness until He makes all things new once again!
Paul David Tripp