Yesterday at chapel our lower grades students performed Handel’s Messiah for young voices. It was sooo hard not to sing along, especially on some of the arias that I have always longed to sing. “Rejoice greatly …behold your king cometh…” I am not sure I have the pipes for it anymore, but I sure love it.
“Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion”, this simple imperative of Zechariah 9:9 comes to a people without much about which to rejoice. Sometimes that’s how I feel. Life can be hard. And into those hard, joyless, hopeless places comes this IMPERATIVE (as a language geek I know that means it’s a command.) REJOICE not a little bit. REJOICE GREATLY that’s the prescription for a people in slavery. That’s the prescription for you and me. Actually REJOICE GREATLY AND REPEAT. Or as the great Christmas hymn says, “Repeat the sounding joy.”
My Latin teacher said, “Repititio ad nauseaum.” That was how we were supposed to learn vocabulary and conjugations and declensions. Repeat them until they make you sick, basically. God’s prescription is radically different. “Repeat the sounding joy” until your mind is renewed, until hope sneaks up on you, until even out of the corner of your eye you can see the King coming into your wounded, weary situations. Repititio ad SHALOM. That’s a mix of languages but you get the point. Rejoice until the wholeness won for you on a cross by a baby born in a manger becomes the realest, most powerful freedom giving truth of your life.
Trust me, the prophet Zechariah and the Apostle Paul knew it wouldn’t be easy but there it is in the imperative. “Rejoice, I say it again; Rejoice.” (Philippians 4) Take a joy break today. Sing a hymn. Read the words of Mary’s wonderful hymn of praise from Luke 1. Listen to The Messiah. REJOICE GREATLY AND REPEAT. The world needs the good news of great joy to echo and re-echo and resound until everyone has a chance to hear it.
Rejoice greatly O daughters and sons of Zion! Rejoice for to you and for you is born a Savior! Repeat the sounding joy!,
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