Celebrations and Parties as A Spiritual Discipline

Well the What is a Spiritual Practice blog series is winding down but I am still continuing to receive articles so I intend to continue to post them over the next few weeks.  today’s article comes from Kathy Escobar .  Kathy describes herself as mommy. wife. friend. pot-stirrer. shepherd. follower of Jesus. peace maker. rule-breaker. dreamer.  She blogs at The Carnival In My Head and also The Refuge on Line

I love this article because I read somewhere once that “everywhere that Jesus went there was a party” – not only is partying a good spiritual discipline but it is good theology too.

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celebrations & parties as a spiritual discipline

i have always loved parties.  ever since i was little i was always the one planning the get-together, hosting the shower, somehow finding a reason to gather people to celebrate something-or-other.   it wasn’t until this past few years that i recognized that parties and celebrations were actually a spiritual discipline.  and one that is fun to practice!

i don’t think everyone loves to throw parties, but most people like to participate in them in some shape or form.  sure there are big-crowd people and smaller-crowd people…gourmet foodies and  pre-made costco-junkies (that’s me)….kids-or-no-kids types..alcohol or sodas…and everything in between.  regardless, it seems that most people love a reason to gather. a reason to get together with other people and “honor” life somehow.  it could be a birthday, anniversary, graduation, retirement, promotion, post-memorial service reception, moving in open house, a moving on farewell, or a host of other things to celebrate.

each time we are together for one of these celebrations somehow we are celebrating God’s movement in our lives and the lives of others.  they are sacred spaces—no matter how fancy or unintentional—a set-apart time to say “God, we know you are at work somehow and we are thankful.” whenever i leave a celebration i always leave a little more full, a little more inspired, and somehow more mindful of my own life and what God is up to in it.

birthdays remind us of God’s creation, how thankful we are for the people in our lives, that they are here for one more year and the impact they have had.  anniversaries remind us of how it could only be God that could keep faithfully binding hearts and lives together through the good times and the bad.   post-memorial service receptions are always a special space to reflect on how short life is and to be grateful for extended family & friends and the weird ways lives intersect over time.  graduations remind us  of God’s help & provision in “getting us through” certain milestones in our education and life.  moving in open houses flood homes with hope & possibility for what’s ahead while moving-on parties cause us to remember how sometimes God has other plans for us and we have to be courageous enough to follow where we’re lead.

the bottom line: each party or celebration we are part of is a beautiful form of communion, a celebrating of life, an infusion of the Spirit of God into our hearts individually & collectively.  we might not always notice parties & celebrations as a spiritual practice, but i think they are an integral part of our life together in community & a significant place to notice God-at-work.  Jesus seemed to love parties & get-togethers.  i wonder if it was for some of the same reasons.