Worship Through Celebration
Open Your Bible
Exodus 23:14-17, 2 Samuel 6:1-23, Acts 2:46-47, Revelation 19:6-9, 1 Corinthians 10:31
By John Greco
A few years after college, I rented a house with three friends. It wasn’t a big house. It wasn’t fancy or new. In fact, the home’s single greatest feature was its location—right down the street from the church the four of us attended. It might seem as though that detail shouldn’t matter much, but it wasn’t the short commute on Sunday mornings we cared about. Rather, it was that our rental house became a second home for dozens of our friends.
Our church had a very active young adult ministry—a large group of twenty-somethings who volunteered and served throughout the week. Whether it was Sunday school, Wednesday night small groups, youth ministry, adventure camps for young kids, the local soup kitchen, or one of a hundred other discipleship activities and ministries, someone from our group of friends was there. And because our house was just down the road, people were always stopping by. We ate meals together, prayed together, played games together. There was usually music, lots of laughing, and long talks late into the night. In some ways, it was how I imagined the early church might have been: “Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). At our house, the celebration never seemed to end.
Christians ought to be, above all else, people who know how to celebrate. I say, “above all else,” because what is true for all believers, whether eight or eighty, whether Presbyterian or Pentecostal, is the reality of grace. We have all been forgiven a debt more enormous that Mount Everest, and we’ve been invited into a wonderful, eternal life with God. No matter what happens in this world, nothing can take that away from us (Romans 8:38–39). So why shouldn’t we celebrate? Why shouldn’t we be ready to party at any moment?
In fact, I believe God expects us to be people of celebration. Jubilant hearts are worshipful hearts, because joy like that only comes in response to the goodness of God. That’s why, when God gave instructions for the Old Testament festivals, He commanded His people to celebrate (Exodus 23:14).
It’s why King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), danced with abandon at the coming of the ark into Jerusalem. And when his wife Michal called him out for what she considered an undignified display, his response was to double-down on his worship of celebration: “I will dance before the LORD, and I will dishonor myself and humble myself even more” (2 Samuel 6:21–22).
It’s why Jesus earned a reputation as a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19). He wasn’t either of those things, of course, but He got those labels because He loved to celebrate with people, inviting them to enjoy a foretaste of the party God has prepared for those who love Him.
At the end of history, the Bible tells us, there will be another party, the wedding feast of the Lamb. I have no doubt it will make even the most lavish and joyful of earthly parties seem like a funeral in the rain. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be preparing ourselves right now. Let us be people who know what we’ve been given. Let us be people who soak in the goodness of God and can’t help but beam in response. And let us be people who celebrate, who dance, and who throw the best parties.
Written by John Greco