Month: June 2022
“A person will be called to account on Judgement Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed . . . but did not.” - Talmud This quote is an old rabbinic teaching found in the Talmud. It’s gold. Just run with this thought for a minute: We will be judged for not enjoying life. We often associate our fate by what we do and the actions we take. But what about the things we don’t do and the actions we don’t take? Could we be called into account for those? This new sermon series isn’t about our final Judgment Day, but it is very much about the things we might be missing, or at least searching for up until our Judgment Day . . . and that thing is joy. Joy is the bedrock of sustained faith. It’s deeper and weightier than happiness. It doesn’t dismiss or overlook or sidestep the pain of life; it actually consoles it. It lays at the bottom (or underneath or just beyond) the pain cycles we experience. Joy is the secret ingredient that we need in order to live faithfully as a Christian. This truth emerged for Paul as he wrote Philippians from a jail cell. Paul was in touch with his pain; he understood the fragility of life and accepted the fact that he may not make it out of prison alive. It’s why he so famously says, “to die is to gain.” You can hear his joy coming through despite his pain. So how do we live with this joy? How do we discover and claim it for ourselves? We have to work through our pain to get to joy. To avoid pain is to revert back to a toxic positivity that lands on the shallow realities of happiness or leaves us in the dry and weary land of despair. What we’re called to do as Christians is work through our pain in order to find the depths of joy on the other side.