“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8

I like bananas.

That sentence alone might not trigger an earworm for you but even now, a few weeks removed from Camp Mokule‘ia, my mind can’t help but hear “The Papaya Song”.

I like bananas, I know that mangoes are sweet
I like papayas (PAPAYAS!), but nothing can beat
The sweet love of God 

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of serving as the Camp Chaplain for a mini-camp at Mokule‘ia.  I was assigned to the first and second graders who were only at the camp for two nights.  They were a joy to be around.  From campfire games, to kayaking, to bible stories, we did all the standard camp activities.  What I enjoyed most though was watching the kids during the song time.  They sing without inhibition and they throw their bodies into the song movements.  They let themselves enjoy the moment and no where was this more evident than with “The Papaya Song”.

There are so many verses and stories in the Bible about overwhelming joy.

“I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” – Isaiah 61:10

“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted…’” – Exodus 15:20-21

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” – Psalm 30:11-12

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.” – 2 Samuel 6:14-15

Each chapel service gave me another opportunity to see the scriptures come to life in these children.  The kids gave me permission to sing boldly and flail my arms along with the hand motions.  I was so grateful to them for showing me, and all of the adults, the way back to unrestrained joy.

When I think about overwhelming joy and the Bible, I am often drawn to this verse:

“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.  For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” – Psalm 149:3-4

This verse tells me that the joy we feel, particularly the joy we experience in God, is a reflection of the delight God takes in us.  God knows first hand all about the joy found in others.  I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit was dancing alongside those keiki at Camp Mokule‘ia and I believe that same God takes delight in you today.