|Photo Credit: Geoff Dunn|
* or, cool-headedA lot of the sermon focused on modern day anxiety and how joy ≠ happiness.
At group, we talked a lot about both of those things. Regarding joy, we talked a lot about how it is a perspective issue rather than an emotional feeling. Bringing in the context of the rest of the book, much is mentioned about humility, and I noted that submission to God's will and to the idea of "considering others as better than yourself" makes the way for a joyful outlook where we can see the big picture outside of our current situation. It was repeated often that living a joyful life is not about being a Suzy Sunshine Christian (see also, Ned Flanders), and understanding that one can be sorrowful and joyful at the same time is a key concept to living with an authentic sense of joy. Case in point, Jesus in the garden on the eve of crucifixion. He wept, and struggled with the pain he was about to endure, but he knew that by fulfilling God's promises, he would restore humanity's relationship with the Father. What greater joy could there have been, knowing that HE would be the vehicle to change countless lives through the ages?
Then, a chain of thoughts bubbled up in me as I focused in on verse 6.
We are made in the image of God → God spoke creation into existence → by speaking our prayers out loud, we speak our trust in the Lord into existence → we also speak into existence tangible reminders of what the Lord has done for us when we offer these prayers "with thanksgiving" → as these things transform from jumbled thoughts to uttered reality, the peace of God sets upon us, whether it makes sense or not. And joy springs from that sense of peace.
“Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.When we speak our faith into existence often enough, it becomes Real.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.” ― Margery Williams,
And when our faith is Real, we don't mind being hurt.
That's no small thing.