Heavenly Ragers

Kerri Ash, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | March 4, 2024

“There once was a shepherd with a hundred lambs, but one of his lambs wandered away and was lost. So the shepherd left the ninety-nine lambs out in the open field and searched in the wilderness for that one lost lamb. He didn’t stop until he finally found it. With exuberant joy, he raised it up, placed it on his shoulders, and carried it back with cheerful delight! Returning home, he called all his friends and neighbors together and said, ‘Let’s have a party! Come and celebrate with me the return of my lost lamb. It wandered away, but I found it and brought it home.’ ” Jesus continued, “In the same way, there will be a glorious celebration in heaven over the rescue of one lost sinner who repents, comes back home, and returns to the fold—more so than for all the righteous people who never strayed away.” 

That’s the way God responds every time one lost sinner repents and turns to him. He says to all his angels, ‘Let’s have a joyous celebration, for the one who was lost, I have found!’ ”  
Luke 15:4-7, 10 (TPT)

If I were to describe my favorite earthly celebration, it would be the day I married my husband 28 years ago. We were surrounded by our loved ones and felt incredible gratitude that God brought us together. We have some quirky friends and family, so at the reception afterward, folks broke out in song, dance, and dramatic elements to celebrate us throughout the evening. It felt amazing to experience the joy of our loved ones in this way!  

Today’s Scripture talks about a celebration in Heaven. We know from the Bible that our walk here on earth is temporary and short as compared to eternity, and that the most abundant joy here is muted as compared to what we will experience there. 

Scripture references a few times when the angels in Heaven rejoice—Job 38:7, Luke 2:13-14, Revelation 5:11-12, and Revelation 19:6-7. But the one that rings the loudest to me is in Luke 15:7, when a sinner gives their heart to God!

The Heavens celebrated the day that Jesus came to earth—basically, His birthday, and we celebrate not just His but our birthdays, too.  Conversely, in Heaven, the greatest celebration of us is not on the day of our arrival on earth (probably because we aren’t here to save it!) but on the day we give our heart back to the One who created it. God gifted us free will, and He wants us to choose Him—so when we do, Heaven responds with a rager!  

Something to note—this celebration isn’t necessarily for our Baptism—which is a public declaration that we gave our heart to Him—but the private moment that led to it. That moment between us and our Father, when we recognize our need for a Savior, accept that He met that need through Jesus, and in turn surrender our life to Him. That is the moment Heaven celebrates us!

God tells us in my favorite verse that He looks at our heart (1 Sam 16:7). What an incredible Father that He and His angels break out in celebration when we give it to Him!  

Next Steps

Have you given your heart over to your Father? If so, imagine what your spirit experienced as the angels of Heaven rejoiced over you. What comes up in you when you think of that moment?  

If you have not yet given your heart to God, take a moment to reflect on what might be holding you back. Willow offers a pastoral care team here who would be happy to talk with you about it.