Often these words are offered as part of the blessing at Sunday morning worship… ”abide in Christ’s love and let joy abound in you today and always.” So I tarried with “abounding in joy” and asked myself what does joy look like? A question I’ll invite you to ponder.  What enters into your mind when you think about joy?  The birth of a child or grandchild — holding a baby for the first time, getting your dream job, watching your new puppy play, listening to a new opus or violin concerto, being able to retire and enjoy a new adventure. Maybe it’s when you met your partner, or a special occasion when the whole family gathered together; perhaps it’s just sitting on the “best beach in the country” with friends and a good glass of wine as you watched a spectacular sunset. What does joy look like for you? And what does joy mean in your life?  Joy is an interesting concept. It seems to me joy is an experience not dependent on an external stimulus but rather flows from an inward presence grounded in my relationships, particular in my relationship with God. If I am being truthful, I find it very difficult to explain joy with words, but I know it when I experience it. Joy changes my perception of life and it changes me and the world. C.S. Lewis in Surprised by Joy, writes, “I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. Whereas we can manipulate circumstances to our own advantage to obtain what we think will bring happiness, or expend great efforts in pleasure-seeking, joy is entirely unwarranted. You cannot earn it, buy it or deserve it. It is a divine gift to receive.” We hope you abound in joy.

Scripture Reading: John15:11
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be complete.”

Reflection Questions:
What does joy look like for you?
What does joy mean in your life?
How does joy change you?

Prayer: Holy God, surprise me with the moving of your Spirit, so joy may abound in my heart. Connect me with a need and let me be a helpful and healing presence. Amen.