Thursday, May 18, 2017

“Complete Joy” By Beth DeCristofaro

(Peter said) through my mouth, the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. (Acts 15:7-9)

Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.  "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." (John 9:15-11)


A 91-year old woman who loved to converse even if forgetfulness led her to repeat herself and lose the right words once told me that she loved being Episcopalian because it was easy.  I almost laughed!  Easy!  Is any religion, easy?  “How do you mean it is easy?” I asked.  She smiled and said “you know” (as if I did, of course) “because of the people.  They are kind.  They are easy.  They are …” and here the words failed her.  But because she had already told me that she survived the awful deaths of her only son, her husband, and her two sisters because of caring and dear friends, I knew what she meant. 

“We get by with a little help from our friends.” When we make room in our lives for friends, when we make space and time for the friendship of Jesus, then joy infuses even the murkiest reality with hope.  Being human we often see as if in a mirror darkly.  This 91-yr old had a simple, practical attitude. “I’m old,” she said, so she made do with her crippled arthritic hands, inability to walk and being the last of her family to be alive.  But her sense of humor and the welcome in her eyes to me, to the aide who helped her, showed that within the failing body and loss-ridden history, there was joy and there was hope.

Henri Nouwen in “Bread for the Journey” said:  “True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.  This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.”

God is with us as a friend, he who walked with friends.  God is with us in love, he who loved so dearly as to give his life.  Where do you see joy today?  Where do you feel joy today?  In a dark moment, where is your friend Jesus?

No comments: