“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ Luke 14: 16 – 17
Have you ever noticed how often Jesus talked about or took part in celebration. So many of his stories of a the kingdom of God feature a party – in some the feast is the main thing that is being prepared, others end in a celebration. When Jesus turns up at a wedding the wine is miraculously abundant! When he tells stories about coins, sheep and people being found, the result is a joyful party.
Celebration is a key missional practice! It helps us mark what is going on in our lives, it teaches us to be thankful for every step forward, it helps create attractive environments others might want to join.
How might we use practices of celebration at this point in lockdown?
Find reasons to celebrate. We often practice thanksgiving in daily prayers or Kairos Communities because we want to have a habit of celebration. To know that at every point in our lives there will be evidence of God’s presence and love. Learn to look for and share reasons to be thankful. Find ways to teach others to do the same.
Don’t need much of an excuse. Celebrate the every day things well. Sing happy birthday to people in the community and bake cakes (especially new people or those on the fringes). Look for the milestones that people around you are passing and write cards, make phone calls or hold gatherings that mark these things well.
Make space to acknowledge what is happening. Celebrating well doesn’t mean always being falsely happy. Its more about making space to name and mark what is going on, and acknowledge God’s presence in those things. Right now to celebrate well you might also need to find words and actions that help people grieve or mourn. In this ongoing crisis celebration might involve as much tearfulness as it does laughter.
Invite others to celebrate. Some of us wait too-long to be invited to join a celebration. Perhaps we need to think of ourselves as co-hosts rather than guests. Look for people around you who could be invited to join you in celebration. This could be a (socially distancing friendly) get together if you are ready for that, but it could also be a phone call, social media post, surprise gift, letter.
How could you name and celebrate the goodness you see in others, especially those people who are not-yet Christians or beginning to explore following Jesus?
When do you join with the wider church to celebrate?
How do you make the most of testimony and thanksgiving as a household or community?
Do know how to throw a good party and have fun with people around you?
How could you create or join in with celebration this summer?