There are some things that just don’t seem to fit as commands. Love. Be happy. Rejoice. How can we command someone to feel something?
So where does St. Paul and just as frequently the Psalmists and Prophets get the idea that they can command us to rejoice? It is a cloudy, rainy day and I don’t feel like rejoicing.
Obviously it is not meant as much as command as it is encouragement. “Rejoice in the Lord” I take to mean feel that God desires good things. It counters the feeling we often get from Christianity that God is a fierce judge just waiting for us to mess up, that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God and on the slippery slope to hell.
It makes a huge difference if we approach life in this universe with the positive and hopeful attitude that God is good and wants good things for us, that the universe is not against us and that approaching life with joy is not foolish at all.