“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
I first learned that refrain, probably before I could read, as part of a rousing Vaca on Bible School
or Sunday School song. It could be sung as a round and it was quite the energy builder. Everybody standing or parading around the room, raising our hands when it was our turn to proclaim – Rejoice! Rejoice! At the top of our voices. It was one of those mes you took advantage of being able to be loud.
Over me that refrain has taken on new meaning. For me, it has more power when nothing seems joyful and I may have to whisper the words. I sat in a memorial service for the brother of a dear friend of mine this past week. The last months of his life had not been anything to rejoice about. And yet, this service was full of rejoicing. There were multiple stories of how he was able to rejoice in the Lord un l the end– surrounded by his loving family and friends.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. These are difficult words to embrace at times. How can we share those words with persons whose world is forever changed by events named Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria and more? How can we rejoice as we have known brokenness of spirit and mind, seen horrible acts of violence in our cities and felt the rumblings of earth and the mumblings of war? Rejoice in the Lord always. – How can we?
We can and we will with hearts in our throats and tears in our eyes.
Rejoice in the Lord because that is what we must do. What we are called to do as followers of the risen Christ, as people of God, and proclaimers of the Gospel.
Rejoice in the Lord always because it is the Lord who is able to invade our grief* with hope and courage. It is the Lord who strengthens us when fear seems to ll the air we breathe. who continually calls us back to rejoicing when we have tried to run away.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
Grace and Peace, Dottie