This episode is particularly personal to me.
“Joy” is not a primary Winslow trait. Hard work, honesty, responsibility, service to others…these are virtues I know well. And to the degree that the Bible calls Christians to “rejoice,” I did my best to be optimistic for Jesus (whatever that means). Often what it really meant was biting my tongue less and less effectively as other Christians exhorted people in suffering to trust that “God has a plan” (as though this insight renders grief and pain irrelevant).
Yet joy is a genuine part of the Christian life. One I have slowly – and somewhat recently – come to know. Far from naive positivity or annoying, face-slap-inspiring, religious peppy-ness, joy is the inner state of one who has come to experience (albeit imperfectly) the reality of salvation (having your arse delivered in such a way you know it shall be saved again, once and for all).
It is a truth the New Testament is at pains to express and one that can radically transform hearts.
In the end, joy is the product of God’s gift of salvation and thus a true treasure that only the community of salvation can give away.
This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), December 14, 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!
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