Aloha Friday Message – December 9, 2016 – Advent 3

1650AFC120916 – Rejoice already!

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Philippians 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Isaiah 35:1-2 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Psalm 118:22-24 22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Beloved!) ʻO kēia nō ka lā a Iēhova i hana ai, E hauʻoli kākou, a e leʻaleʻa i laila. HALELŪ CXVIII.XXIV BAIBALA HEMOLELE

This is the day!!  (↔ Music Link)!!

This is advent, four weeks of preparation for the Coming of The Christ Child. The liturgical color is violet, a color connoting reflection, penance, waiting, a period of preparation. On what should we reflect? What need is there for penance? For what or for whom are we waiting? What is the point of all this preparation? The answers to all these questions is a single word: Emmanuel – אֵֽל׃עִמָּ֥נוּ – ‘im-mā-nū ’êl – “With us is God.”

Remember we recently looked into why the roads were made straight, the mountains leveled, and the valleys filled? That’s because Emmanuel is coming, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. (See 1 Timothy 6:12-15 and Revelation 19:16 – seriously, look them up) Isn’t that something? God is coming to us. Talk about A-MAZ-ING!! What if your Pastor started your church service Sunday morning by saying, “I want everyone here to be on your best behavior today because we are expecting a Very Special Guest. In just a few minutes, this person will be right here with us; in fact, he is already among us, but you may not have recognized him. He looks and sounds just like us, but he’s not from around here. No, he’s from someplace far, far away and more splendorous than the most beautiful places on Earth. Brothers and Sisters, lift up your hearts and hands and voices to welcome ….. (drum roll and trumpet fanfare) ….

Well, who do you think is coming? The corner stone the builders rejected. Yes,! So, don’t worry about anything because even the deserts and the mountains and the seas and all the People of the Earth are going to be glad. We don’t want to miss out on that!

Jesus! Yes, that is the Very Special Guest coming – not just this Christmas, but every single day – every hour, every minute, every second, every MOMENT – of every day. He is coming to bring us God’s LOVE. He is coming to bring us redemption. He is coming to bring us forgiveness. He is coming to give us salvation. He is coming to be one of us so that we can learn to live as God created us to live. He is coming to be our friend, or brother, our personal Savior – not just this Christmas, but every single day – every hour, every minute, every second, every MOMENT – of every day. So, let’s lift up our hearts, our hands, and our voices to welcome The King of Glory and let us do so REJOICING.

That is such a great word – REJOICE. When I hear it I hear it as re-joys as in joys again, and again, and again. One of the best JOY words around is Halleluiah and it’s alternative Alleluia. We are to be an Alleluia People! What does that word mean? It means GOD BE PRAISED. We used to sing a song about that. (↔ Music Link) We’d be divided into two groups – boys and girls, left-side and right-side, children and adults – and on the Halleluiah phrases one group would stand. When Praise ye the Lord came up the Halleluiah group sat down and the second group stood up. There was a lot of “jumping up and down.” Rejoicing is like that. It’s just being so happy that we simply can’t sit still. (↔ Music Link)

Yes, we are called to be an Alleluia People – a people always rejoicing. We can live like that in the Spirit. The Spirit in us helps prepare our hearts for his gifts- and there are way more than seven! In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he described what it is like to be constantly rejoicing in God. He said, “… be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s that attitude of gratitude that is the foundation of the stewardship of all of God’s gifts – including the gift of rejoicing. There are quite a number of words in the scriptures that are translated a joy or rejoice (-ing). Here are just a few of them:

Samah – שָׂמַ֖ח – Jubilant, spontaneous dancing, signing (simhach) – 1 Chronicles 29:9
Alaz – עָלַז – Exult – Burst into leaping with joy – Habakkuk 3:17-18
Nagilah – נָגִ֖ילָה – Let us rejoice – Psalm 118:4
Euphraino – εὐφραίνω – To gladden the mind – Revelation 12:12
Kauchaomai – καυχάομαι – Glory in success and boast against – 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
Sunchairo – a συγχαίρω – Rejoicing together, with others – Luke 15:6
Agalliao – ἀγαλλιάω – Rejoice Greatly, to exult; jump for joy – Revelation 19:6-8
Chairo – χαίρω – Rejoicing over experiencing God’s Grace; be glad in the Lord – Luke 15:32

There is so much JOY to be found in The Holy Spirit! We know about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. All of the things mentioned as the fruit of the spirit are things that make us happy. We can find them in Galatians 5:22-23 – The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Love is service and sacrifice.
Joy is balance at the center of the soul.
Peace is good order.
Patience is the ability to endure whatever comes.
Kindness is attentive regard for the other.
Generosity is the habitual disposition to share.
Gentleness is courageous respect for other.
Self-Control is a voluntary check on the appetite for success.

We’ve also explored the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Word of Knowledge
The Word of Wisdom
The Gift of Prophecy
The Gift of Faith
The Gifts of Healings
The Working of Miracles
The Discerning of Spirits
Different Kinds of Tongues
The Interpretation of Tongues

We have this fruit and these gifts to help us learn to be happy – to REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS! It’s important to remember what it takes to be happy, to be always ready to rejoice. We just have to remember the six simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred.     2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less. 6. Share the Joy as you pass The Word along. Joy isn’t completely fulfilled until it is shared. We can rejoice alone – and this often happens when rejoicing in the Spirit – but when there is someone to rejoice with us … that is really REJOICING. Now, imagine rejoicing with Jesus – in our houses, in our churches, in our cars, in our hearts – ALL THE TIME!!!

What if we don’t feel like rejoicing? What if life is just so hard that all  can do is shout in paint and not shout for joy? How can we change that? How do we start over? No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. There’s three things to rejoice about right there that we already have. The cool thing about rejoicing is that one we start rejoicing, more rejoicing comes. It’s almost kinda like getting the giggles – it’s hard to stop once we get started.

Why all this carrying-on about rejoicing? This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday in Advent. It is often called “Gaudete Sunday” (gow-DEH-teh). The Introit (the Entrance Verse) for Gaudete Sunday is taken from Philippians 4:4,5: “Gaudete in Domino semper” (“Rejoice in the Lord always”). On this Sunday, the Vestments can be rose-colored (not “pink”) rather than purple as is usual during a penitential season (Lent and Advent). The rose color reminds us that we have passed the midpoint of the season and things are brightening up  as is indicated by the entrance (Introit) verse which begins with, “REJOICE!” Rejoice with one another, Beloved. Pray for, with, and about one another. Remember what He said: “Whatever you do to the least of these…” and “I AM coming tomorrow.” I want him to find us REJOICING! Now, get up and shout HALLELUIAH!! ALLELUIA!!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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