The first week in June is Western Australia Week. We used to use this week to focus on our past, to remember the time the first European settlers arrived to found the Swan River Colony in 1829. These days, we spend less time reflecting on our past and focus more on Western Australia as a great place to live, to celebrate our achievements, to acknowledge the people who make up our state, and to recognise those who have contributed to the state in the past.
It’s kind of a big birthday party.
Have you noticed that a child will tell you for months that they’re “nearly five” but we’re not so keen to mention our age as we start to approach 50. So a five year old’s birthday is very different from a 50 year old’s birthday party.
Indigenous West Australians may celebrate WA Week differently from a person who has migrated to the state from Europe or the United Kingdom. We celebrate for different reasons and in different ways, depending on the event, our age, where we live, and our family or national traditions.
But celebration is important because it is an acknowledgement that something special has occurred.
In the Bible, King David noticed how people would celebrate the goodness of God.
This is what he had to say in Psalm 145:
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever.Every day I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever.Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The fact that God is good isn’t just something that we brush over or even ignore. David thought it was worth celebrating.
From the days when Aztecs would throw people into volcanoes in an effort to appease an angry god, people’s view of God hasn’t always been of a god who is good. Yet, we are told in the Bible of a God who loved us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for us.
That sort of love is amazing. Such goodness is beyond our comprehension. And in fact, we don’t even deserve it. But that’s the beauty of a God who knew that we couldn’t live up to his standards ourselves, so he reached out to us, and offered us eternal life, peace with God and hope for the future.
If your view of God is of an abusive god, an angry God, someone who is disappointed in you, or someone who wants to punish you, I’d encourage you to think again about the concept of God being good.
Because in Jesus we discover that God does recognise our shortfalls, but is prepared to give up everything so that we can live at peace with him. Jesus confirms to us that he is a good God. A God who is trustworthy, is patient, and, as David said, is rich in love.
That’s worth celebrating.