John Adams: “Rejoice Evermore!”
“Rejoice evermore! I wish that it had always been in my heart and on my tongue. Ah, I am filled with an irresistible impulse to fall on my knees in adoration, right here. If only my knees would bend like they used to.”
These are the words of Paul Giamatti in his portrayal of John Adams in the HBO miniseries, John Adams. Adams is at the end of his life, having accomplished much as a founding father and having held both the office of vice-president and president of the United States. At the age of 90 years, he has also experienced much disappointment and loss. His middle son has been consumed by alcoholism, his daughter lost to breast cancer and his beloved wife and friend has preceded him by death.
In this scene he is on a walk with his youngest son, Thomas, when he spots a flowering shrub. This causes him to remember that his mother often said to him that he did not delight enough in the mundane.
He pauses in the presence of his son, and declares with the apostle Paul: “Rejoice evermore! Rejoice evermore!” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
This is a bitter-sweet and emotional moment. He longs to rejoice, but reflects that he has lost so much time in which he has forsaken it. He wants to bend his knees, but his knees won’t bend in his aged and feeble body.
Oh, that we would see the beauty of the world while we may enjoy the creator of it.
Oh, that we would bend our knees while they still may bend.
Oh, that we would rejoice on earth as we will in heaven. For even now, in Christ, have we nothing to rejoice about? In Christ, rejoice in the Lord always!