The _____ of the Lord is my strength

I’ve been too serious in worship lately, and I’m sick of it.

I’m not a serious guy, and too much seriousness fatigues me. I want to recapture a sense of joy and exuberance in worship and genuinely celebrate God’s goodness.

I keep remembering the worship services I attended in Ghana and Liberia (nations in West Africa). Offerings were danced forward to the altar to the lively beat of the drums. Songs were sung with full-body dance moves and ear-to-ear grins. Wearing your “Sunday Best” meant donning your brightest, boldest colors. Worship was a par-TAY, a celebration! If you said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” they’d DO it, and they’d MEAN it!

Problem is, I’m in a deeply German Protestant setting (hey, I’m descended from a family named Weirauch – I’m rather German myself!) Stoicism and the Protestant Work Ethic are deeply ingrained in our culture.  You get what you earn, and you’d better earn what you get.  Talking about God is serious business.

But Nehemiah 8 tells us that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

It doesn’t say the work of the Lord is your strength.”  It doesn’t say that the doctrinal purity of the Lord is your strength.  It doesn’t say that the scholarship or intellectual rigor of the Lord is your strength.

It says JOY.

Isn’t Jesus worth rejoicing about?  I think so.

Unclench.  Relax.  Rejoice.  Laugh a little.  Smile a lot.  This is supposed to be fun, Deuel.

 

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Author: pastorwillie

Husband to a beautiful wife, father to four awesome children, Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, pastor of a great church in rural southern Illinois, guitarist, songwriter, ukulelist, blogger.

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