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Celebrating: Scripture Readings

Psalm 103:1-5—Celebrating God’s abundant blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Consider these questions:

  • How might you incorporate celebrative psalms like this one into your prayer life?
  • When you look at your “inmost being,” how often do you find yourself in “celebration mode”? What might you do to celebrate every day?
  • Can you picture yourself “crowned with love and compassion”? Try that during your next prayer time.
  • In what ways has God abundantly blessed you? List as many as you can.

John 2:1-11—Celebrating a joyful event

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Consider these questions:

  • In A Habit Called Faith (Baker Books, 2021), Jen Pollock Michel writes, “Although Christians have a long and unfortunate history of making every pleasure a guilty one, this narrative [of the wedding at Cana] doesn’t tolerate asceticism for its own sake. No, it tells us that God can be as comfortable at a party as he is in the church pew—that our habits of faith can be as celebratory as they are contemplative” (p. 132). How celebratory are your own habits of faith?
  • Can you picture Jesus celebrating and being joyful just as easily as you can picture Jesus preaching and being serious? Why or why not?
  • What were family celebrations like in your growing up years? How has that shaped your own ability to celebrate?
  • How might we invite Jesus to be at the center of significant celebrations today?

Luke 15:20-24—Celebrating reconciliation

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”


Consider these questions:

  • Spend some time contemplating the artwork “The Prodigal Son” by Edward Riojas. What elements of celebration do you see in this painting?
  • How would you feel if a child of yours who you thought was dead appeared on your doorstep, seeking your forgiveness?
  • If you were the father in this story, what would your celebration look like in today’s world?
  • What does this story tell you about God’s character?

Revelation 7:9-13—Celebrating What Is to Come

I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.


Consider these questions:

  • This passage paints the ultimate picture of Christian celebration. Have you ever imagined what that day will be like? Give it a try.
  • How are you already now cultivating a spirit of unity with people from “every nation, tribe, people and language”—people with whom you are destined to spend eternity?
  • What do you picture when you think of a “new heaven and new earth”? What would be different from life today? What would be the same?
  • How are worship and celebration entwined? What does this look like in your congregation?