Here are a few ways I’ve been thinking about my celebratory response to Dobbs:
First, the Lord has prepared a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5), which is to say he has prepared this table publicly. It’s a feast of rich food, fatty meat, and fine wine (Isaiah 25:6), and he has commanded us to feast with joy (Nehemiah 8:10). So if God has commanded me to publicly feast with joy, it will not do to simply wrap a dinner roll in a napkin, slip it into my purse, and sneak away from the table to chew it in the corner at home. Feast! Laugh! Invite your neighbors to pull up a chair — the food is plentiful, the bread and wine are on the house (Isaiah 55:1), and there’s plenty of room for more. Let us eat and celebrate, for death has turned to life (Luke 15:23–24)!
Second, public celebrations tell the watching world not only what the law of God is (don’t kill babies, duh) but that the law of God is good. His law is good (Psalm 19:7)! His justice is good (Psalm 98:9). His Word is good (Psalm 119:103). His work in this world is good (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18, &c.). We delight in his laws (Psalm 119:16). When we see the righteous judgment of God fulfilled on this earth, it is a very good thing indeed! And when we rejoice and celebrate in public, we are giving a public testimony to God’s goodness.
Third, rejoicing at the end of wickedness is a biblical model. When the Egyptians were thrown into the sea, Moses, Miriam, and the Israelites danced on the shores of the mass grave (Exodus 15:1–21). When David killed Goliath and cut off the giant’s head with his own monstrous sword, the people sang and danced in the streets (1 Samuel 18:6). When God gave the Ammonites into Jephtha’s hand, his daughter met him with tambourines and dancing (Judges 11:34). “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous” (Proverbs 21:15).
Fourth, we too often forget that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Do you want to be strong, church? Do you want to be strong, Christian? Then be joyful! Delight in the Lord and in his rule! When you see the work of God in this world — when our prayers that God’s kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10) are in some measure answered — then rejoice, and be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).
Fifth, C.S. Lewis wrote, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” In other words, our joy is not complete until it becomes praise; unexpressed praise is unfulfilled joy. If you’ll pardon the metaphor, enjoyment without praise is a joy that’s aborted before it reaches full term. Does the end of Roe bring you joy? It should. And if it does, then publicly praise the God who ended it.
Sixth, there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). This is a time to laugh and dance. The great dragon Roe has been slain by the Lord Jesus Christ! There will be time for mourning and for tears, but if this is not the greatest cause for celebration in my lifetime, I don’t know what is. Read the times, and respond appropriately (1 Chronicles 12:32).
And finally, yes, we need to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Christians everywhere will continue providing support, comfort, and care to women who find themselves in unwanted pregnancies and difficult circumstances. Do I care about the struggling single mother who doesn’t know how she’s going to support her baby? Absolutely, I do. You should, too (James 1:27). Do I care that she may not be able to legally kill her own child? No, I don’t. Not even a little bit.
Not incidentally, Romans 12:15 (“weep with those who weep”) also commands us to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” I am rejoicing, so please, join me! “Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me!” (Philippians 2:18). God would have it so.