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Learning To Rejoice

Learning To Rejoice

Jan 14, 2018

Passage: Zephaniah 3:14-17

Preacher: Michael McGlynn

Series: Advent 2017

Category: Advent


Imagine a remove with a circle of chairs. The people sitting in the are nervous and fidgety. Finally one of them speaks. Hi, my name is Mike. ("Hi Mike") I am a theater guy. (audible gasps) I am not just a theater guy. I’m a musical theater guy. ("No." "It can’t be") I love musical theater and I haven’t seen a show in 4 weeks. I’m not just a musical theater guy. I think life would be better is it was lived as a musical! I envision a world where people waking up would go over to their bedroom window and open up the curtains. While looking out the window at the new day they would burst into…”Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day…” (from Oklahoma) But I’m a Christian and I know there are rules against not only theatre but happiness in general. That’s why I joined this group, so I get help with my addiction to singing, dancing, and joy so I can be a better Christian. I really want in my heart of hearts to be as sour faced and serious as I can be. I am here today to renounce joy, gladness, rejoicing, happiness and anything that might remotely resemble enjoyment in my life as a believer; to be as grumpy as possible in this life and the next. Whoa! Please someone stand up and stop me. Is everyone ok? Now some of what I said was true. I will leave it to you to guess what. Typically in Advent when we are lighting the candles one of them is to symbolize Joy. So I was compelled to examine joy as my sermon text was the angel’s statement, “I bring you good news of great joy.” As I was studying, I discovered that the Greek language, like the people, was more stoic and less emotional. Hence, there are 3 basic words for joy or rejoicing with a couple of others tossed in and Luke uses them all. Speaking of Greek, Thespis (6th century BC Greece) according to tradition, was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play (instead of speaking as himself). In other sources, he is said to have introduced the first principal actor in addition to the chorus. These plays were called tragedy. Actors from then on were referred to as Thespians. The Hebrew language on the other hand, has a bunch of words. There are 13 root words and 27 separate words for joy or joyful participation. As I was studying them the same verse popped up again and again as an example of something special in the scriptures. In two verses in the same book and the same chapter right next to each other, there are 8 separate words for joy or its expression. When the same or similar words are piled up or repeated we are supposed to take notice. It’s important and we should pay attention. These verses are our text this morning WARNING: Today, you may catch a glimpse of a God you don’t recognize. A God you might have never met. A God that will break many of the rules you have been taught by well-meaning religious people.