Annuntio Vobis Gaudium Magnum!

+J+M+J+

The Readings for Thursday in the 5th week of Easter (C1)

I have told you this so that… your joy might be complete.

Jesus said this just before he went out to die. You know this and I do too, but we often forget it. If you’re not happy, some would say, you’re doing it wrong. I am too blessed to be stressed. You gotta give up your spirit of heaviness… We forget that “Joy” here means to stay within the commands/love of God the Father by staying within the commands/love of God the Son. Which command was never “do what you love and the money will follow.”  It was never “Follow your bliss”. It was never, ever, a rose garden. It was ever was and always will the garden of Gethsemane where God sweat blood, or the fair garden of Calvary whereupon the only tree that ever bore life to the world, God died; or the garden just below the crest of the hill, where life conquered death by death died in death’s despite and Jesus Christ won the victory for all time.

But no rose garden is or can be involved.

Take up your cross daily and follow me, he commanded. The other thing he commanded was to love as he loved us – by dying. Yup, we’re good to go here for some serious Joy. Unless “joy” means something we don’t think it means unless the “joy” we think we know is only somehow a pale and useless shadow of the real thing or even a mockery of it.

“Joy” is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The wiki has a rather wonderful entry on these, including this passage on Joy:

The joy referred to here is deeper than mere happiness; it is rooted in God and comes from Him. Since it comes from God, it is more serene and stable than worldly happiness, which is merely emotional and lasts only for a time. 

According to Strong’s Greek Lexicon, the Greek word listed in the verse is χαρά (G5479), meaning ‘joy’, ‘gladness’, or ‘a source of joy’. The Greek χαρά (chara) occurs 59 times in 57 verses in the Greek concordance of the NASB. 

  • Original Word: χαρά, ᾶς, ἡ From χαίρω (G5463)
  • Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
  • Transliteration: chara
  • Phonetic Spelling: (khar-ah’) 

Joy (Noun and Verb), Joyfulness, Joyfully, Joyous: 

“joy, delight” (akin to chairo, “to rejoice”), is found frequently in Matthew and Luke, and especially in John, once in Mark (Mar 4:16, RV, “joy,” AV, “gladness”); it is absent from 1 Cor. (though the verb is used three times), but is frequent in 2 Cor., where the noun is used five times (for 2Cr 7:4, RV, see Note below), and the verb eight times, suggestive of the Apostle’s relief in comparison with the circumstances of the 1st Epistle; in Col 1:11, AV, “joyfulness,” RV, “joy.” The word is sometimes used, by metonymy, of the occasion or cause of “joy,” Luk 2:10 (lit., “I announce to you a great joy”); in 2Cr 1:15, in some mss., for charis, “benefit;” Phl 4:1, where the readers are called the Apostle’s “joy;” so 1Th 2:19, 20; Hbr 12:2, of the object of Christ’s “joy;” Jam 1:2, where it is connected with falling into trials; perhaps also in Mat 25:21, 23, where some regard it as signifying, concretely, the circumstances attending cooperation in the authority of the Lord. Note: In Hbr 12:11, “joyous” represents the phrase meta, “with,” followed by chara, lit., “with joy.” So in Hbr 10:34, “joyfully;” in 2Cr 7:4 the noun is used with the Middle Voice of huperperisseuo, “to abound more exceedingly,” and translated “(I overflow) with joy,” RV (AV, “I am exceeding joyful”).

How does this Joy tie into love, death, and carrying crosses?

We know that the things of this world come from doing whatever we want. Everyone one of us knows that “whatever we want” soon devolves into one or two petty things done over and over… eating the same foods, going to the same sorts of movies, taking the same vacations, having the same arguments, engaging the same vices, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Then we die.

Nearly everything we do in this world, apart from God, results from a fear of pain and quest for pleasure.

Yet Jesus promised real joy… and then silently suffered death in the 1st-century version of an electric chair set on stun.

How we do whine about our crosses even before we get nailed to them: unrequited love, broken homes, lost innocence, missed plans (my personal favorite of late), no one understands me, no one loves me…

me, me, me.

There is no joy in me: it’s only in serving others, only in loving others, only in dousing our pride, in offering our hearts, broken and disordered, to the God who offers us his natural heart in exchange for ours made of stone.

Joy.

When we know we’re whiners or when we know we don’t understand… when we realize that maybe we’re wrong…

We’re on the path to Joy.

Author: Huw Richardson

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He has worked in tech (mostly) since 1999 and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.