This awesome post by the ever-excellent Mr Standfast led me to Nehemiah 8, where I read these words:
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
– Nehemiah 8:5-6
The weight of God’s word was upon them.
““This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. – verse 9b.
Mourning and joy mingled together into what we call worship. Worship. Celebration. Peace.
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. – verses 10-12
They celebrated. They gave to those who had nothing. And, although the weight of the word had brought grief, they rejoiced. The joy of the Lord was their strength!
May it be so with me.
Lord, thank you for joy!
for the joy of the Lord is your strength!