Today’s Bible: Psalm 16: 5-11
1 The Lord is my chosen part and my cup;
you hold my share.
6 Border lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a good legacy.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me advice;
at night my heart also teaches me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
for he is at my right hand, I will not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart rejoices, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests on safety.
10 because you do not leave me to Sheol,
or let your faithful see the Pit.
11 You show me the way of life.
There is a fullness of joy in your presence;
in your right hand are pleasures forever.
Tim’s pious reflection for today
The psalmist says, in prayer and song, “You show me the way of life. There is a fullness of joy in your presence. ”
We say this in the belief we most often use in our worship: “God is with us. We are not alone. Thank God.”
And what does the psalmist experience because of God’s presence? Fullness of joy.
Samuel M. Shoemaker, a priest of the Episcopal Church who is considered one of the best preachers of his time, said, “The surest sign of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy.”
Jesus ’ministry was so marked by joy that removing the joyful aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings would shorten the gospel. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God in the language of joy — as a feast, or a wedding, or a pearl of great value, or a buried treasure. The Gospel of Luke alone would be really skinny if you dropped all the references to feasts, banquets, celebrations and parties.
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Stay in my love. ” (John 15: 9) . . “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. ” (John 15:11)
However, it is important to understand that joy is not the same as happiness. The amazing thing about joy is that it does not depend on what is happening around us. Happiness depends on what happens; joy no.
Happiness comes from the old English word ‘happ’, which literally means ‘chance’. This suggests that if things happen the way we want them to, then we are happy.
Joy, on the other hand, does not come because something happens or does not happen, but comes from our inner faith.
I like what the late Reverend Dr. Gil Ferrell, United Methodist pastor, urban missionary and seminary professor, said of the joy: “Joy and happiness can sometimes be dressed the same, but they are not twins. Sometimes I wonder if they are related at all; I think they come from different parents. You can plan happiness, anticipate it, often achieve it. Joy is unpredictable. ”
Paul said that joy is an aspect of the “Fruit of the Spirit,” the fruit that is born in the lives of people who “walk in the Spirit” – those who live their lives fully aware of God’s presence. What Paul is telling us is that joy is something that comes from within, it is something that is generated in us by the Holy Spirit as we draw strength from our relationship with God.
When Paul cataloged the fruits of the Spirit, he chose his words carefully. The Greek word used by Paul and translated “joy” is the word chara. It’s from the same family of words as that beautiful word, charis, which translates as “grace.” Haris, or grace, is the basis of our Christian life. That’s it charis to experience joy. The joy in our lives comes from grace.
Because chara is based on haris, joy is based on God’s grace in Christ, not on what is happening around us or us, we can understand Paul who writes in Philippians 4: 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. And I say rejoice again. “
Pay close attention to what Paul says: “Rejoice Sir always “, not rejoice for all. ”
There is no satisfaction in illness, job loss or family tension. It is no pleasure to know that a loved one is dying.
When Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” it is not the external circumstances that determine this joy. It is our inner relationship with God. We rejoice “in God.” The joyful relationship we have with God is what gives us satisfaction and strength, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Author Ann Douglas Sedgwick died in 1935 after a long illness. Towards the end of her life, the nature of her illness was horrible. She couldn’t breathe if she wasn’t lying down and she couldn’t eat if she wasn’t sitting. Yet, in that terrible trouble, she said this: “Life is hard, and yet life is mine and it is beautiful to me. There is joy in knowing that I am in God’s hand. ”
In Romans 5, Paul writes that we “Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings. ” (Romans 5: 3)
Our knowledge and experience of God’s presence gives us joy, as the psalmist did.
“Joyful, joyful, we adore you”
Joyful, joyful, we worship You,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts open like flowers before You,
Opening up to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sorrow;
Drive away the darkness of doubt;
The giver of immortal joy,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Your works surround you with joy,
Earth and sky reflect your rays,
Stars and angels sing around you,
A center of constant praise;
Field and forest, valley and mountain,
Flowing meadow, glistening sea,
A singing bird and a flowing fountain
I praise you forever!
He always gives and forgives,
Forever blessing, always blessing,
The source of the joy of life,
Ocean depth of happy vacation!
Beloved Father, Christ our brother,
May your light shine on us;
Teach us how to love each other,
Raise us to divine joy.
Mortals, join the mighty choir,
Which began the morning stars;
God’s love rules over us,
Joining people hand in hand.
Always singing, we march on,
Winners in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us to the sun
In the triumphant song of life.