As God gives reformation to us and to our families and to our communities, one of the characteristics we should be expecting and working towards is a deep and profound joy to permeate all that we do. This is not the same thing as some kind of happy-clappy cheerleader joy that some Christians are constantly trying to gin up. Rather this is a joy that’s down in our bones, a joy that knows that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is now King of the world, a joy that knows that God is at work remaking this entire world until the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, a joy that knows that not a hair can fall from our heads apart from the will of our heavenly father, and a joy that knows and believes that somehow – wonder of all wonders – God has drawn near to us. This God who has come near to us, is not only God with us but he is God for us. He is the God who involves himself with our lives, rejoices over us as beloved sons and daughters, and is leading us through life to a sure destination, to resurrection and joy everlasting. This deep joy and thankfulness is one which is able to see the world with greater clarity, and this means that the important things in life are seen as important things and the little things are seen as little things. Laughing with your children, dancing with your wife, singing psalms with God’s people, worshipping on the Lord’s day, feasting in your homes and with one another, working hard and rejoicing in the fruit of your labor… all of these things are the good gifts of God to be pursued with thankfulness and joy. And that means that there really isn’t any room for pettiness and pickiness. There are far too many in our tradition who have spent their lives cultivating this sort of pious prickliness. They’ve got scruples about everything and just about everything rubs them the wrong way. But Jesus is risen from the dead. Stop worrying about the color of the carpet, stop bickering about where the dirty laundry goes, who cares that a few ‘t’s’ need to be crossed or an ‘I’ is missing a dot. Put away your petty squabbles: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.
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