“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:9-12)
The people were returning to Jerusalem. The temple was rebuilt. The walls around the city were rebuilt. But more importantly, hearts were turning back to God. The people realized their wrong and wept for it. But the great thing was that God forgave. Nehemiah and Ezra told the people to worship and celebrate God for all that He had done. He had protected them in their time of exile. He brought them back to their home. And He stood ready to forgive them. Because of this, the people could eat and drink and celebrate, because they had something to truly celebrate.
This week, remember all that God has done. More importantly, remember that He stands ready when you want to repent and turn back to Him. He is waiting with open arms.
For this week’s Thursday Quote Day, thought I’d go with a fun movie quote. Given that it seems like every day now has become “National Something Day” or “International Something Else Day”, here’s a quote from the movie (500) Days of Summer:
“Every day you make me proud, but today you get a card.” (Tom Hansen (500) Days of Summer)
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
In part of being in community with others, there are some who are celebrating and there are some who are mourning. There are some who are blessed with good times and there are some who are enduring rough times. I’m reminded of this regularly when I hear news from friends and family.
I’m reminded of one couple that I knew from seminary that are celebrating the arrival of their son whom they adopted from Ethiopia. I rejoice for them as they have waited for a long time for the paperwork to go through to be able to bring him home. I’m also reminded of a friend from grade school who is grieving over the loss of his wife who passed away after a long fight with cancer. I weep for him and his family over the loss.
When we rejoice with others and when we weep with others, we are reminded that it’s not just about us. God wants us to see beyond us to those around us, to love on those around us. At the same time, when circumstances bring us to joy or to grief, others need to come alongside us to rejoice and weep.
This week, celebrate the victories and mourn the losses. And remember that throughout all of it God is right there through it all.