A Cause for Celebration
August 19, 2022 by Rev. Lorenzo Small
As a culture we have no shortage of things to celebrate. We love to celebrate in these United States, and nothing has had an ability to damper our appetite for such activity. We celebrate everything: marriage, divorce, the birth of babies, graduations, holidays, made-up holidays, church anniversaries, pastors’ anniversaries, Reformation Sunday, and more. Did you know that September 4 is Eat an Extra Dessert Day? I think you get the point. We love to celebrate.
In that celebratory spirit, I want to give you two additional reasons for celebration, reasons far greater than those listed above found in Psalm 139. (This scripture is slated for Sunday, Sept. 4, in the Revised Common Lectionary.)
First, there is nothing God does not know about you. Now, one might ask how is this reason for celebration, considering what each of us knows to be true about ourselves? Well, it is quite simple. God knows everything about you and yet, God still chooses to invite you into relationship with him.
I dare say that if you knew everything there is to know about me you might not invite me into relationship, let alone read my article. And yet, David declares this is the very case with God. God knows very well every thought, every desire, every secret, and every act you have ever considered and done, and God still invites you into relationship, or as the psalmist writes:
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. 3You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.”
When I consider such a tremendous truth I, like David, become overwhelmed with joy! I want to celebrate and in doing so shout “Hallelujah!” God knows you, the true you, and God through your faith in his son, Jesus, has laid his loving hands upon you. Now, that is cause for celebration!
But wait, there is more.
God personally fashioned you. You are not an anomaly nor are you a mistake. God knew you would not be able to wear skinny jeans when he fashioned you. But nonetheless, you are still fearfully and wonderfully made. In a world that is fixated on telling us what the standard of beauty is, we should find great joy and cause for celebration in the psalmist’s words:
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.”
Every aspect of your person is God’s handiwork; even those aspects for which you care very little. The extended second toe, the hair that will not curl or straighten, the gap in your front teeth, the crook in your index finger, to the complexion of your skin are all from God. You indeed, as the psalmist declares, are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” If you look good to no one else, you look good to God. God has made you in his image on purpose and for a purpose. If this does not move you to celebrate, I imagine nothing does.
So, be sure to add these to your list of things to celebrate. Not only add them to your list, put them at the top of your list and share them with others.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Rev. Lorenzo R. Small, Sr., serves as pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. He attended North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., where he studied finance, and he pursued a career in healthcare following college. He later answered the call to ministry, graduating from Union Presbyterian Seminary in April 2013 with a Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Small was ordained as a PC(USA) Teaching Elder and installed as the pastor of Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, S.C., in 2014. He accepted the call as Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church and preached his first sermon there on June 18, 2017. He is married and has three sons and enjoys traveling with his wife.