Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rejoice

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you. - Psalm 5:11 (NKJV)

Although you have not seen Jesus Christ, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy. - 1 Peter 1:8

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 127; 1 Kings 9:20-10:29; John 15:9-17

Following two days that highlighted the two directions of communication with God (Monday our prayers directed toward God, Tuesday the gifts from God to the world that communicate God's message), it seems fitting that JOY is a theme for today.

Joy doesn't necessarily mean that everything is wonderful and perfect. C. S. Lewis pointed out that joy is quite different from either happiness or pleasure. Joy is a lasting, abiding sense that we will be all right, even while it's clear that everything in our lives is not all right.

In the NRSV translation of Psalm 5, it's not just "trusting in" God that leads to joy, but "taking refuge in" God. Trouble comes in life, but God provides refuge and help.

Jesus speaks of joy in today's John 15 section also. He repeats his call to abide in his love by keeping his commandments (primarily to "love one another as I have loved you"). Then he says, "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete."

It makes sense to me that we experience joy when communication is strong both from God to us, and from us to God. Are we listening? Are we lifting up the real state of our souls to God? I've found that even in times of stress and anxiety and uncertainty, I'm able to keep moving ahead in joy, if I draw strength from God's promises and God's presence.

Whatever life brings, we can abide in Christ. We can take refuge in God. We can love God, and love one another. We can rejoice.

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