Monday, December 18, 2017

Rejoice Always

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A favorite summer camp chapel song is Rise and Shine:

The Lord said to Noah
There's going to be a floody floody
The Lord said to Noah
There's going to be a floody floody
Get those children out of the muddy muddy
Children of the Lord
So rise and shine
And give God the glory glory
Rise and shine
And give God the glory glory
Rise and shine and give God the glory glory
Children of the Lord…
We sing—well, no, perhaps cheer-bellow-shout would be a better descriptor—Rise and Shine each summer Sunday at Incarnation, an Episcopal camp located in Ivoryton. The campers and even the staff get so into it. Each person tries to outdo the next in terms of volume and enthusiasm as our voices echo around the lake. There are wild hand movements that accompany each line as we clap, stomp, jump and dance our way through the eight verses. At the end of the song the entire congregation falls back down into their seats, laughing uncontrollably and utterly exhausted.

It is chaotic. It is messy. It is loud. It is renewal.

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks.,” we heard in yesterday’s Epistle.

I find myself tempted to think that spiritual practices and prayer—that the ways in which I seek renewal—have to be organized, quiet and serious. Yet children are so quick to remind us that this doesn’t always have to be the case. Seeking renewal can be joyful and loud and messy.

I’ll never forget coming across one of the youngest campers spinning in the middle of the camp sports field during free time. I stopped to watch him for a few moments as he moved so energetically and with so much joy before I asked him, “What are you doing!?” He stopped spinning and threw his hands on his hips as he exclaimed: “I’m praying! Duh!”  And then he picked up exactly where he had left off: smiling, spinning with his hands raised towards the sky.

May we rise, and shine and give God the glory, glory.
Post & Photo by Dana Capasso Stivers

No comments:

Post a Comment