Rejoice

Jack Roeda

READ : Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (v. 4)

Years ago I received a letter inviting me to order a custom-made suit. It was a fine offer. What puzzled me, however, was that the letter was addressed to clergy and morticians. Now I respect morticians, but how did those who are called to raise the dead get lumped together with those who bury them?

For some people Christian piety is best seen in the long serious faces they put on and the black suits they wear, but not for Paul. He tells us to rejoice always.

We assume that joy comes serendipity-like, by way of favorable circumstances. Of course, those are important. But for Paul, being in Christ trumps all other circumstances.

Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor, spent years in a communist prison. Near despair, he was amazed at the joy he saw in a fellow prisoner, an Orthodox priest. Wurmbrand writes:

He never greeted people with “Good Morning,” but always with the biblical “Rejoice!” . . . I asked him, “You’ve had so much misfortune—how can you rejoice always?” “Why, it’s a grave sin not to do so,” he said. “There’s always good reason to rejoice. There is a God in heaven and in the heart . . . The sun is shining! Many here love me! Every day you do not rejoice is a day lost.”

PRAYER

Dear God, may we rejoice always because we never lose sight of you. Amen.