Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leap of Faith, Leap for Joy

I have been conversing -well emailing-- with reader Lynn who is working her way through the Lay Worship Leaders program offered through the United Church. Lynn is already an accomplished motivational speaker and decided to take the plunge into preachin' and churchin'.

Our exchanges have been around this day which is the Sunday of Joy in the Advent season. While I am at St. Paul's, Lynn which will be preaching twice at a nearby pastoral charge. On Friday afternoon, when both of us were finished our messages (we are so virtuous) she emailed to address the tragic murders at a Connecticut school. How do we speak about joy when there is such suffering?

There is no real answer, but in my response I said:

This is always a pastoral challenge for sermons which are meant to bring hope and light. Unfortunately there are always people in a congregation who are heavy-hearted and feeling hopeless as we speak about hope and peace and joy and love, the Advent themes.  We still need to affirm all of these, perhaps especially so given the bleakness of the world around us.
We both made adjustments to what we would say, but this does remind us that tragedy and sadness and violence are never-ending. Still we ask God to lead us through the darkness which could smother everything meaningful in our lives. Affirming joy is a leap of faith.
Is there room for joy in the midst of sadness all around us? Does Christ bring joy in your life?


Nancy said...

There is joy amongst the sadness, sometimes we just have to look a little deeper to find it, just like sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find Christ in our lives.

Friday afternoon as I put students in their parents' cars, I was not aware yet of the tragedies that had unfolded. One parent hopped out of the car and hugged her 10 year old. I thought this somewhat strange as it was not normal behaviour, but then the parent proceeded to tell me what had unfolded throughout the day. When I reflected back to that moment, it was joy I saw in the child's eyes as she was hugged by her mother - totally oblivious of the events and not expecting such a hug as she hopped into the car.

There was joy last night in our daughter's eyes as we opened the door to family for dinner. A cousin she adores, was not expected, however was among the family at the door, she was very excited.

Sometimes it's the little things that bring us joy and we need to be more mindful of them, in times of such tragedy.

janet.rice said...

"Through tragedy and sadness some joy can prevail"..this is a line from a poem which came in the form of an email last Wednesday, written by a dear friend of mine. She knows that there is sorrow in our family. This is my new mantra, hoping that it will help me find joy.

Lorraine Lapp said...

I remember your counsel after the events of December 6, 1989, and how what you said helped me, as a beginning journalist, process a story than I could understand. Now, I'm a teacher and, as Nancy wrote, I did not know until the end of the day last Friday what had happened. What has struck me are the comments made by the families, acknowledging the gift of the presence of their children--even for such a short time. Those children-gifts will be cherished by us all for many years to come.