As we approach the countdown to Easter we look at the final of our spiritual disciplines, this is one which doesn’t necessarily seem like a discipline, but also one which can be hard to do, or one which we fail to do the most, and that is… rejoicing
We live in a world where we are told about the bad things that happen all the time; a world which takes great joy in sharing mistakes that people have made; spreading other people’s misfortunes; a world where it is all too easy to complain about things that are happening but it seems more and more difficult to rejoice.
After the shocking events in Westminster this last week I was overwhelmed by the amazing responses of the people in London, around the world and in the media. The response to show that we will not be deterred or afraid; the love of those who helped; the unity of different religious leaders coming together. It would have been so easy to focus on this awful act being done in the name of a religion, but instead there was a rejoicing of the love being shown. In fact I am reliably informed that the highest trending twitter feed the following day was national puppy day.
When a major city is attacked we all come together, show our solidarity, show we are one people not many. Unfortunately, on a day to day basis this unity which does take place isn’t reported, but the differences and disagreements are. Why does this have to be the case?
This is why rejoicing is a spiritual discipline. And why it is so powerful. The only way to dispel evil is through love. Yes we can act in love, which is powerful, but we also need to rejoice in love. Easter is the most important of the Christian festivals, it was at Easter that Jesus defeated death, it was because of his resurrection that we all have the opportunity to have eternal life, and to be in relationship with God. Joseph Prince says
Whatever barren situation you are in, rejoice and tell God, “Father because of the sacrifice of your son, I am blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. You have already given me everything. So I am going to act like it is so and rejoice!
As I say so many times, if you choose to live a Christian life and follow Christ then that is most definitely not taking the easy option, and is likely to face difficulty. But throughout it all we must remember all the blessings we have been given and rejoice in those. They will give us the reminder we need of good in our lives, but will also be a witness to others. Maybe we can start a new trend of sharing only the good things we see, or focussing on them anyway? We have good reason to rejoice, so let’s do it!
Have a great Easter Break, celebrating the news the Jesus Christ is risen!