Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart. (Zeph. 3:14)

WE ALL LOVE JOYOUS TIMES—times of celebration. Everybody loves a birthday party, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate someone’s special day.

In today’s reading, Zephaniah announced a joyous celebration as years of exile were coming to an end. There was singing, shouting, and rejoicing over the marvelous happening.

Sometimes, a parade celebrates such an event. The brass may stir the soul; a drum may stir different emotions. A muffled drum with its heartbeat of sadness, sorrow, and heaviness can strike notes of judgment and doom. I remember the sound of the muffled drum as a horse-drawn wagon carried the body of President John F. Kennedy through the streets of Washington. Those of us who watched remember the depression that gripped the nation following that assassination.

But that same drum, by changing the beat, pitch, and timbre of the drumhead, can make us dance. Watch the toe tapping of spectators at a Fourth of July parade. The drumbeat lifts our spirits and enlivens life.

Sometimes, the cause for rejoicing depends on your concept of God and the attitude of your heart. Do not be afraid of life. Worry and anxiety are not of God’s making. They are obstacles to God’s purpose.

God makes life good at the deepest levels. Rejoice and sing. A loving God is beside us. He is among us with love and acceptance.

Believe that God strengthens us to get us through troubles to a happier time.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served full-time pastorates in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky.