Do you ever think that once whatever you’re struggling with is over, then you’ll be able to be joyful? Does “joy” as most of us think of it sometimes feel contingent on things going well or being “right” in our world?
This week in the Sanctuary we will continue our Advent Worship Series, Joy to the World, with “Make the Blessings Flow: Unabashed Joy.”
To me, the idea of unabashed joy is a kind of joy that can’t be contained, that is oblivious to its surroundings — and that breaks through adversity, as our scripture describes, like waters that “spring up in the desert, and streams in the wilderness.”
But what is the source of this kind of joy? Where does it come from, especially in the deserts of our lives?
Returning to our text from Joy to the World, we find the phrasing: “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found . . .” So perhaps, we may wonder, what does it mean to “make our blessings flow” — regardless of whatever “curse” we may feel is upon us or our lives?
In the iconic scripture passage at the beginning of Mary’s pregnancy, even as she was immersed in a state of affairs that would have put her in a position of dishonor among her people, Mary sings out powerfully because she understands that this situation in which she finds herself will set into motion a chain of events that will change the world forever.
Have you ever witnessed unabashed joy, even in the face of hardship, that brings people together in a unique way? What if you could live a life so full of unabashed joy that it could bring others together in a prophetic chorus? What if one small courageous act of joy could multiply and magnify your exuberance for others?
I look forward to exploring these ideas of unabashed Joy with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 98
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.