I love the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. You might remember that a few years ago we did a study of the book in worship and I highly encourage you to read it. Much attention is given (and rightly so) to the main character of Nehemiah and his leadership ability and how he is able to get the people to come together to do this great task of rebuilding the walls around the city. But maybe lost at the end is the most beautiful worship service and celebration in the whole of the Bible.
In chapter 8 the people of God come together to hear the word of God be read out loud and explained (a really good sermon) and they are so moved that they weep. This goes on for days and days and days. At the end of it, they celebrate with feasting and even take care to include those among them who don't have anything to bring to the massive pitch-in they threw. The chapter ends like this, "Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly."
What a party! We Wesleyans could learn a thing or two from them about how to worship and how to celebrate! Our homecoming event was big, but not that big! But, in the next few weeks we are dedicating a bunch of children to the Lord and then the next week we are baptizing a TON of people (the most I've ever baptized in one day)...and that's a really good reason to celebrate!!
So, let's follow the example of the Israelites and let's
A) hear the word of the Lord well (and take it to heart)
B) celebrate what God is doing!
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