Sermon: "The Mother of Celebration" by Alex Bryan
Pastoral Welcome: Rob Mohr
Tam Nu Thanh - Calvin Thomsen
Ton Samuel P. Lazarus - Mehbub Khan
Childrens Feature: Jackie Bishop
Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9–14, TNIV - Paul Herrmann
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON
A couple weeks ago our family enjoyed 13 inches of fresh, white, Christmas snow in the mountains of Western North Carolina. This heavy blanket of pure, cold joy created at atmosphere of wild celebration. Snowmen! Sledding! Snow-cones! And, oh, how the fireplace, hot chocolate, and grilled cheese sandwiches came to life.
C.S. Lewis famously wrote that "joy is the serious business of heaven." If the Britisher is right, the church ought to be an incubator of seismic celebration. The blood of Christians should teem with playful, winsome, childlike energy. The Bible should bring buoyancy. Prayer? Petitions of grand possibility?! Our solemn work is to be cheerleaders, curators, and benefactors of happiness.
But why is this so difficult?
Today, we will explore the Discipline of Celebration. Seems oxymoronic, doesn't it? Running the treadmill, fasting from chocolate, memorizing Proverbs--these seem to be serious disciplines requiring a regime of resolve. But celebration? A religious mandate to play? A liturgy of cutting-loose? A Christianity where confetti is a line-item in the church budget?
Our investigation will take us to the heart of the matter: what causes an attitude of celebration? What makes us prone to play? How do we become easily infected with the disease of joy? What is, as our title indicates, "The Mother of Celebration."
Walla Walla University Church
But the "wisdom of God" was always "foolishness with men." No marvel, then, that the great mystery of the gospel should be now also "hid from the wise and prudent," as well as in the days of old; that it should be almost universally denied, ridiculed, and exploded, as mere frenzy, and that all who dare avow it still, are branded with the names madmen and enthusiasts! – Charles Wesley
Note: Baptisms are in the extras section of the DVD