Dear Church Family,
If we recently went through the “Lentiest Lent” we’ve ever experienced, then the subsequent Holy Week and Easter Weekend have been amongst the most difficult to walk through in our lifetimes. No matter how heightened the joy of Easter Sunday “should” be, the reality of worshipping alone, or through watching a video on Facebook or YouTube, doesn’t really compare to the celebration of the church when gathered together. We did sing two hymns this year, which I was grateful for, but it’s nowhere near enough music for a celebration of the resurrection - which, by the way, is every Sunday!
I was reminded by a friend that the Easter season, stretching all the way to Pentecost on 31st May, is a time of rejoicing and praise within the church. It’s a time to be thankful, to be joyful, to be exuberant in our worship and provocative in our evangelism. So how might we do this? The short answer is: it’s about attitude. In other words, all these things can happen if we approach them with an intentional mindset. The reality is that won’t be easy because life is not particularly easy at this point in time. Can we allow ourselves to be people of joy and praise even when life isn’t joyful? The Bible says not only that we can, but that it is something we should pursue as we grow and mature in our faith:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
So please do consider ways you can develop a mindset of praise and thanksgiving, even on days when things are dismal. This could be developing the practice of praying each day and giving thanks and praise to God before asking Him for anything. It might be the daily playing of some worship music or hymns to allow yourself to sing praise to the Lord. I have found the Matt Redman song, “Blessed be Your Name” has given voice to this situation for me recently. The second verse says this:
“Blessed be Your name When the sun's shining down on me When the world's 'all as it should be' Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name On the road marked with suffering Though there's pain in the offering Blessed be Your name”