Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Again I Say: REJOICE

The long road home

Daily Readings: Psalms 55 & 74
                             Jeremiah 17:5-10, 14-17
                            Philippians 4:1-13
                            John 12:27-36

In college, a fellow student preached one night at the campus ministry meeting.  He preached on Philippians 4, and whenever I read verse 4, I still hear his passion in my head.

Rejoice, brothers, in the Lord.  Again, I say, rejoice!"
I still see this young guy I didn't know well, one I had unfairly judged as a shallow frat boy, red-faced with passion, urging us to take joy.  Some things transport you easily to a time past; this verse is one of those things for me.

Rejoice.  Rejoice.  Rejoice.

In what, exactly?  Life threatens to swallow us whole, reeking of broken dreams, hurting hearts, and empty faith.  Any way we look, there's another of God's children starving, suffering.  In our own lives, we escape from our disappointment, seeking food, alcohol, drugs, entertainment or worse.  Nothing is ever what we expect, and every day is a battle to keep from drowning.

Rejoice in what?

The richest nation in the world with the highest rates of depression?
The violence of fellow man, killing each other senselessly, often taking innocents with them?
Human trafficking, more prevalent even than the slavery that sparked a war?
Our complete inability to truly fix any problem that plagues humanity?
Even counting our blessings, the small gifts, of God?

Do we rejoice in these?

This week--thousands of years ago--Jesus turned His face to Jerusalem.  He knew what awaited Him there, the suffering, rejection and pain.  But He went anyway.  He was betrayed, as He knew He would be.  Beaten, mocked, nailed, and killed.  Because He chose to not let that cup pass, we have access to God.

The Greek: Eggus: near in place and position; as in access to God.

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is NEAR.  Philippians 4:5

Again, I say, rejoice!

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