God’s Joy

“Celebration belongs to God’s Kingdom. God not only offers forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing, but wants to lift up these gifts as a source of joy for all who witness them. In all three of the parables that Jesus tells to explain why he eats with sinners, God rejoices and invites others to rejoice with him. ‘Rejoice with me,’ the shepherd says, ‘I have found my sheep that was lost.’ ‘Rejoice with me,’ the woman says, ‘I have found the drachma I lost.’ ‘Rejoice with me,’ the father says, ‘this son of mine was lost and is found.’

All these voices are the voices of God. God does not want to keep his joy to himself. He wants everyone to share in it. God’s joy is the joy of his angels and his saints; it is the joy of all who belong to the Kingdom” (Henri Nouwen).

I keep thinking of the end of the parable of the lost sheep when Jesus said that there is more joy in heaven over the one sinner who repents than over 99 who need no repentance.

Joy is an integral part of God’s kingdom, but you’d never know it the way His children go about with sour faces. Of all people, we should be the most joyful. After all, we have the pearl of great price, the sheep that was lost, the coin that was missing, and the prodigal son who has returned home. We have gone from strangers from the promise and nobodies with no hope and no future to beloved sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Who else has more reason to be joyful?

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