Read

Ezra 3:10-13
Nehemiah 8:1-8 and 9:1-6

Reflect

We’ve all seen them, the videos of a parent returning from military service surprising a child. The child’s reaction is instantaneous and overt. What is in that small heart simply overflows.

It is not unlike an act of worship—an expression of intense joy, a demonstration of unbridled gratitude and a response of overwhelming love.

If you’ve ever attended a sporting event to see your team win or enjoyed a sublime concert, you’ve felt a small measure of the same emotional outpouring. You are overjoyed. You smile. You cheer. When fans cheer for their favorite football team or applaud for a musical or dramatic performance, it is—by every measure—a kind of worship. Yet we, as Christians, sometimes enter into worship as if we’re attending a funeral. Of course, quiet reverence and reflection are important parts of worship, but so is celebration. It is the outward expression of what’s in our hearts.

In the third chapter of Ezra, we see this emotional expression of worship. When the foundation for the temple was laid, the people brought out trumpets, they sang—and some were so overcome by the sight they wept. They overflowed with emotion at seeing the temple under construction. What was in their hearts was expressed through celebration.

Think of the last time you cheered for something—or even the last time you enthusiastically recommended a product, an event, a book to a friend. Were you offering a kind of respect or honor or devotion?

How much more enthusiastic should we, as Christians, be about the great gift of salvation.

If your faith is grounded in the solid knowledge that Jesus was born and died for you, wouldn’t you celebrate? Wouldn’t you be overcome with emotion? Wouldn’t you want to honor that understanding outwardly? At Easter, we worship God’s magnificent act of loving us enough to send his Son to die for us. It should be the greatest of all celebrations.

Respond

As you prepare for Easter, read the Gospel account of Jesus’ last days and resurrection. Then put yourself in that setting as one of His disciples—after all, you are a disciple of Christ. How would you have reacted when He died? How astonished and excited would you have been to see him resurrected? Would you have remained quiet and reserved? Think about how you express that in everyday worship—and how much our Great God is deserving of our worshipful devotion.

– Martha Graham