I don’t mean to say that we don’t laugh, smile, and have a good time. I don’t mean that the world is always dark and without any happiness. This, however, is not what the Bible means when it speaks of joy. Joy is not a happy moment or the brief interlude of good feelings that come from having “fun.” Joy is not the achievement of a personal goal or simply avoiding being bored.
Joy is what transforms us and sustains us even amid our suffering, struggle, and pain. Joy is the product of God’s grace, as the psalmist sings:
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy. (Psalms 30:11)
We long for joy in our lives. The pursuits of happiness, fun, and recreation are all attempts to grasp joy, but each effort fools us into believing that finding joy comes when we avoid the pain and suffering of our lives and that of the world around us. When these things fail, we turn to medications and addictions to keep the pain at bay.
Beginning on Wednesday, September 14, at 7:05 pm, we will begin a study of The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These two spiritual giants of our age will guide us into an exploration of the nature of joy and how we find it in our lives. We will spend six sessions with the book and movie Mission Joy: Finding Happiness in Troubled Times featuring the Archbishop and Dalai Lama. We will encounter the infectious joy of two friends and leaders that was born of pain and suffering. The sessions will be offered in-person and via Zoom.
I hope you will join us for this journey to joy. It is something that each of us seeks, and the world desperately needs.
Tim Olson – Lead Pastor