“Celebrate the Goodness”
Pastor Carl Larson, Faith Lutheran Church, Staples
Each weeknight, except Wednesdays (church night), I have the great pleasure of coaching the Staples-Motley 8th grade football team. On that team are 14 boys who love to play the sport and who work hard each practice to get better at the gridiron game. But there’s something else that’s special about each of the middle school boys. They’re a group that is full of joy and they aren’t afraid to share their joyful enthusiasm.
It was during our first game of the season against Wadena. The 8th grade Cardinals didn’t score a point in the first half while giving up 14. But in the second half, because of a stout defense that shut down the Wolverine offense and because of two excellent offensive scoring drives plus great execution on two extra point conversions, the 8th graders walked away with a victory and then freely shared their victorious joy with all in attendance. It was so much fun to celebrate with the boys because of their genuine joy.
In the New Testament, the writer of James gives this witness: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father.” Perhaps when a kind word is spoken or something good is done, when an amazing thing happens, we could name it. We could say, “This is a God thing” and show our pleasure by way of exuberant celebration.
Throughout the Gospels, examples of joyful expressions abound. From the wedding story at Cana in the Gospel of John, to the excitement of the demonic after he is made whole by Jesus in Mark and Luke, to Jesus’ healing of two blind men in Matthew, in each case joy was articulated in festive merriment and the Good News of God at work in the world was proclaimed. The “God thing” was recognized and celebrated. And yet, we know that in today’s world, there are numerous times when we experience life’s difficulties and those instances often cloud all the many signs of God’s goodness that come to us.
As a people of faith, we need to acknowledge those fractious times and use our hands and feet to amend the situation. But we must also be ready to celebrate the goodness found in our daily living, sharing our exuberance, our joy, in thankfulness to God and neighbor.