Monday, November 28, 2005

Celebrate!

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yItIv Daq the joH always! Again jIH DichDaq jatlh, yItIv!
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

I may have mentioned before that I am a big fan of mnemonics, the science and study of memorization - exercising your mind by memorizing things: calendars, digits of pi (I once could rattle over 200), poems, and of course Bible verses.

People can be intimidated by such a challenge, though some will take a stab at it by finding short verses like John 11:35, "Jesus wept." This verse from Paul's letter to the Philippians would make another good candidate. Though longer, it has a nice redundancy that makes it an easy target to learn (there's even a song, but I won't share that now).

Having just finished Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in the Bible (another good memorization choice, that) with its cheer and exultation of the LORD, Paul's words make a good echo when he calls to us to

yItIv Daq the joH always! Again jIH DichDaq jatlh, yItIv!
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Perhaps you don't think of Klingons as being a cheerful lot, and you're surprised they'd have a word for "rejoice." But tough as they seem, like most people's languages, their's prepares them to talk about happiness and enjoyment. The word I used here for "rejoice," yItIv, is an imperative form of the word tIv "to enjoy" - it's intended as a command to be happy. I've used the same expression in the phrase "yItIv QoSlIj" - Happy Birthday (literally your-birthday, you-enjoy-it!)

In the Greek here, the word is chairo, a primitive verb meaning to be "cheer"ful. It appears over 60 times in the Greek scriptures, as a greeting and expression of cheer. It shows up first in Matthew's gospel, telling of the first "star trek" as the magi follow the star to see Jesus -

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

Like those travelers, here in this verse, Paul directs us to rejoice. He repeats himself to emphasize what joy we should have. The Message translation puts it this way:

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!

This isn't just a duty - be happy or else. It is our privelege as believers. In Barnes' New Testament Notes, we read this rejoicing shouldn't be:
at certain periods and at distant intervals, but at all times they may rejoice that there is a God and Saviour; they may rejoice in the character, law, and government of God--in his promises, and in communion with him.
The reason is, as we noted in Psalm 117, God's care and love for us is enduring:
If everything else changes, yet the Lord does not change; if the sources of all other joy are dried up, yet this is not; and there is not a moment of a Christian's life in which he may not find joy in the character, law, and promises of God.
yItIv Daq the joH always! Again jIH DichDaq jatlh, yItIv!
Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice! Philippians 4:4

Paul didn't write that as he rested at some comfortable desk. He was in a prison cell - yet he knew a joy more profound than the most fortunate or wealthy can imagine. As he wrote:

Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. (Philippians 4:11-13, The Message)

What keeps me from experiencing this same joy? This is what we need to learn as we read the Scriptures - so we too can say yItIv! Rejoice!

1 comment:

Bimonic said...

It sounds to me that Cling is a relative on Ing - Bimonic