One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. [Matthew 9:14-15 NLT]
John the Baptist is probably in prison and his disciples are mourning with fasting.
You can sense the mournful angst as John's friends ask the 'Why' question.
It reminds me of how hard it is to understand why folks celebrate while we grieve.
Jesus understands that he will, like John, be gone and his disciples will be mourning.
It is in this context that he indicares that we must celebrate with each other while we can.
And how we must, in our grieving, not let sorrowful bitterness grab hold of us.
Experiencing loss can cause us to see the world darkly and cause us to act wrongfully.
Like the Baptist's followers, loss can create a judgmental attitude in us towards others.
And instead of celebrating, we strike out out those who are not suffering.
I can really relate to this experience when I see the posts of my Facebook friends.
I sometimes experience envy and jealousy when I read of friends enjoying vacations.
Instead of rejoicing with them, I focus inward and simply feel sad and get depressed.
These times can be wake-up calls, reminding me that life is beautiful - it really is.
Great loss can really cause us to forget the simple fragrant bouquet that life can be.
So today, let us let go, and resolve to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
Open our eyes Lord to the awesomeness of life. And help us to rejoice with our friends.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.