Dear Members and Friends,
During the recent days, I've been working, with help from many others in the congregation on the memorial service for Sue McCoy. This comes to mind -- there is a world of difference between happiness and joy. Happiness, writes Fredrick Beuchner, is fairly predictable. It is where we expect to find it: in a healthy newborn, a good marriage, a beautiful quilt completed or a good job. Happiness comes from a thousand different places. One of mine is celebrating a birthday party with family. Another is have a tidy fishing tackle box. Happiness come from all over the place.
But joy is different. There is no happiness at the death of a loved one, a member of the congregation, or one of your family. However, there can be joy: a whole different thing. Jesus said this about joy: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11)
Joy is unpredictable. It happens when its least expected. It may be something we experience when happiness is happening, but not necessarily. We can experience joy along with sadness, at the very same time. Joy comes from deep down. Joy is not something we can will; it finds us rather than we finding it. Jesus has joy, the Bible says, and he wills that it is ours as well. When it is, 'then our joy will be complete.'
"A life well lived, a large and loving heart, the gift of grace and being good to others" ... these are the things I'll be remembering this week as Sunday draws near. When we gather to say goodbye, let joy, deep down joy, be present in our hearts.
Good Joy to you all.