Time to Celebrate (Ros' Blog)
I get the impression that God loves an excuse to celebrate. The Bible stories are full of them. From the annual celebration when the harvest was brought in, to the Year of Jubilee every fifty years, not to mention Passover and all the other feasts, celebration was written into the Jewish law from the outset.
After a remarkable victory, Samuel erected a stone on the border of where the victory had taken place, and held a naming celebration, calling the stone Ebeneezer – “The Lord our Help” – and proclaimed, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7.12)
When Nehemiah had completed supervision of the repair of Jerusalem’s wall, he gathered the people together to celebrate “with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.” (Nehemiah 12.27)
After God’s deliverance of his people from the scheming of their enemies in the time of Esther, their reprieve was commemorated in perpetuity by an annual celebration, the feast of Purim. This festival was marked by feasting, rejoicing, and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Esther 9. 22)
When the Jerusalem temple was rebuilt with the help of two gentile kings – authorised by Cyrus and funded by Darius – the sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. (Ezra 6.16)
Several of Jesus’ stories end with a great celebration: the prodigal son’s welcome home by his father, the woman’s discovery of her missing coin, the shepherd returning with the lost sheep; and of course Jesus’ first miracle was performed during the celebration of a wedding.
So it seems fitting that at Through the Roof we should seize the opportunity for a celebration whenever one appears. And as this is our 20th anniversary year, there’s no time like the present! I like the fact that in the verse quoted above from Nehemiah 12, the people celebrated not with mere thanksgiving, but with thankgivings. There were multiple reasons to give thanks, and they made use of them all.
And in that spirit, we are inviting you to help us hold multiple thanksgiving celebrations this year. Firstly, save the date of September 9th when we will be holding a celebratory thanksgiving service at St George’s Church, Ashtead – details to follow in due course. And secondly, we have put together some birthday celebration kits to help you hold a Through the Roof birthday celebration in your own area. The pack contains: invitations; a DVD to play to your guests; balloons; bunting; rice paper cupcake toppers printed with our special birthday logo; a gift for each guest of a pen, a commemorative postcard with the story of the man lowered through the roof to Jesus and a leaflet celebrating 20 years of Through the Roof; and a glossy souvenir booklet for the party host to keep. In the picture at the top of this post you can see our trustees sampling the cupcakes we made.
To get your hands on one of our celebration kits all you have to do is ask! You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01372 749955 and we will put the pack in the post to you. All we ask in return is that you invite your guests to give a donation to our work – we are aiming to raise £80 from each celebration held – and that if you are able, you take some photos of your event and share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #TTRis20. Happy celebrating!