Every morning I read through a passage in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament and one from either Psalms or Proverbs. I use the Bible In One Year reading plan (https://bibleinoneyear.org/en/) and find it extremely helpful to get this broad overview of Scripture rather than just reading favourite passages over and over again. All Scripture is God-breathed, we are told (2 Tim 3:16-17), and so it is useful for us, equipping us for every good work.
Today’s Psalm was Psalm 91, a very well-known and much-loved psalm. I read it today in The Message version, and was struck by the ending in this version as I prepare for our special party service at church this afternoon:
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!” (Ps 91:14-16, The Message)
Why are we having a party service today, complete with traditional party games, party food, bouncy castle and inflatables? How can this possibly be called ‘church’?
All throughout Scripture, we see a God whose love for us is lavish, generous, abundant. Luke 15 shows us Jesus telling three stories about lost things – a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son – and each time the lost item is found, there is celebration and a party in heaven.
So often, we think of God as a killjoy, someone ‘out to get us’, someone who positively smirks when we fail. That is so far from the truth. God is a God of celebration, of lavish love, of welcome. Parties are God’s idea; He speaks of the ultimate celebration when we are reunited with Him as a wedding banquet. (Matt 22:1-14) Everything we love about parties – food, singing, dancing, games – is a reflection of the joy in God’s own heart when we live in right relationship with Him.
So today I am grateful for the party-heart of God!