“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
We have been trained to think that you must choose between being holy and being happy. Some people may be holy, but we tend to think those people are incredibly serious, austere, and in a sort of permanent concentration. And we think we don’t have time for that, and besides, it doesn’t seem very fun.
But there are several problems with this. First, is the fact that God commands His people to be holy: Be holy for I am holy. The Bible also says that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. You cannot go to heaven if you are not holy. So there are not two kinds of Christians – the holy ones and the rest of us normal schlubs, changing diapers and driving to work every day. No, there is only one kind of Christian, and that Christian must be holy. But not only that. Nehemiah says that we must be holy and happy. He says, this day is holy unto our Lord, neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Holiness and happiness go together.
So this is the Lord’s Day – holy to the Lord, and this this the Lord’s Supper, a holy meal for a holy people. And what do we find here? We find food and drink and sharing: holiness and joy. In God there is no difference between His holiness and joy. His holiness is His joy, and His joy is His holiness. Therefore, there is no way of being happy without also being holy, and there is no way of being holy without also being happy.
If you think you’re being holy and you aren’t happy, you aren’t doing it right. And if you think you’re happy but you’re in sin, you’re lying to yourself. But if you’re doing what God has called you to do with joy, that is holiness. From carpools to dinner, from homework to meetings, to sharing bread and wine here, if you are serving Christ, it is holy. And if you’re serving Christ, how can you not be happy? So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.