Joy!



December 20, 2014

Joy!  By Marta McLaughlin

Scripture: Psalm 139

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.”  Psalm 139:1

I am often filled with joy for no apparent reason.  The sky looks bluer and the plants greener, I say just the right thing at the right time, walking feels like dancing, and everything seems to flow.  Of course, sometimes I’m filled with joy because I’ve gotten good news or something that I have been hoping and praying for is happening.  But what is the key to this other joy?  

Psalm 139 eloquently describes how intimately God knows each one of us. God invests time and energy in developing each one of us.  God continues to form us with unique skills, interests, gifts, and experiences.  God affirms our infinite value.  God is with us wherever we go, embracing us, guiding us.  We are not alone.  We are known.  We are loved.  God  actively seeks to develop a relationship with us.  God wants us to be a part of what God is doing in the world.  God gave us each other, community, to love and care for one another.  The details of how we do that are different for each one of us.  But I am reminded of the quote from Frederick Buechner — 'The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.'  When I’m able to set aside self-doubt, stress, anxiety, and regret; when I remember that God knows me and loves me just as I am; and when I feel connected to God and my community, I feel that I am where God has called me to be in that moment, and I’m overfilled with joy.

During this week of advent, we remember the joy God brought into the world through Jesus Christ and the joy that each of us has the opportunity to experience through our relationship with God and our community.

Prayer: Nurturing and affirming creator, you know us inside and out, from beginning to end.  You know our faults and our failures,  and you love us just the same.  Help us to lay down the stress and anxiety of our own goals, help us to turn our self-doubt over to you, help us tune into joy to recognize where you are calling us to be.  Amen.

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