The Practice of Celebration
Scientific studies have shown that our brains are like Velcro for negative things and Teflon for positive things. Left on our own we naturally see the world around us through a negative, critical lens. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The spiritual practice of celebration changes the way we see the world and it changes the way we experience life.
Jesus entered into this world proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand. And when he sought to describe what the Kingdom of God was like do you know what image he often used? He described it as a party, a wedding celebration brimming with joy and food and friends and wine. So every time you and I pray, “Thy Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” we’re really praying that life would be one great celebration. But seeing and living life through that lens is easier said than done. It takes practice.
We can practice celebration in daily life by choosing to celebrate successes when we see them or experience them. Give yourself the grace to celebrate your own successes, no matter how small or seemingly imperfect. And give someone else grace by celebrating their successes. Share an encouraging word. Write a note of congratulations.
Weekly corporate worship is another fabulous venue for practicing celebration. What a great opportunity to celebrate how God has been at work in you, through you and around you throughout the past week. What would our worship together look like if we approached it as a celebration? How would we interact with God and one another? How would we sing? How would we pray? How would we give? Sure, there’s a time for lament in worship. There are somber seasons that need to be honored and embraced. But the Kingdom of God is a party. It’s a celebration of the abundance of God all around us. Worship isn’t just a spiritual duty; it’s a spiritual delight, a reflection of God’s Kingdom come right here, right now.
So go ahead. Find a reason to celebrate today. Do a little happy dance! Practice celebration, because the Kingdom of God is here and now.
Need a little motivation? There’s no better song on the planet than this one. Turn it up loud!
Jeff Marian is the Lead Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN.