Sunday, January 21, 2007

law and joy

while we are all the way over here in australia we wanted to discover and practice disciplines that would keep us connected to our family in lexington. one of these disciplines will be to read the lectionary selections each week alongside our communality family. (I just checked the clock and saw that as I type this many of you will all be making your way to high street for the Sunday gathering).

this week i was particularly struck by the Nehemiah reading (8:1-10). there are pre-pagitt body prayers and a moving account of people undone with conviction as the law is read out....yet in the midst of this sorrow Nehemiah says, "this is a special day to the Lord, stop crying! go and have a party being careful not to leave anyone out, and don't cry, this day is special and THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH."

i fail to remember that joy is a sign of a true Yahweh follower. joy is a mark of someone’s deeper understanding of God's love for all the world. too often i have confused joy with naiveté or shallow triumphalism. A smile can be a slippery slope into Christian fakery, me thinks, and I worry that my own joy might be a sign of denial about the horrible injustice that creeps all around our world like a very well established ivy. But this is a permission giving story. I feel released to “go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks…” BECAUSE it is a reflection of joy rooted in God’s love and justice. Joy, it turns out, is not a sign of a blind-spot or weakness, it is a manifestation of God’s strength and a sign of “God with us.” a sign that God's ways (law) is the was we travel together to make things right.

I’m going to try on some joy this week and see if I can be transformed into a more worthy follower of jesus.

1 comment:

billy said...


These are goods words about the need to be rooted in the joyous nature of God's love as we seek out the things that can easily divide us and rob of us of our joy; things like our desire to see justice come and the damage that we do as we seek it, quite often, at the expense of others whom we see as misguided, shallow, or even evil. Doubtlessly, these are ascriptions that we are all worthy of bearing at one time or another, but it is very easy to lose sight of our own desperate dependence on grace, and our helplessness without Jesus' example, in the midst of fighting against the injustice and corruption that we see in the world. It is a good thing to be reminded of the fact that God longs for us to be able to pursue these things in the joy of the love that we have found in Jesus. I know that I certainly need to be reminded of this daily. We miss you already brother......keep going......