Joy

In his book, Letters to Malcolm, pages 92–93, C.S.Lewis wrote the following:

Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place.  Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we were placed here to live.

I have been working on a summer sermon series about the Fruit of the Spirit, and this week I have been writing a sermon about joy.  That has prompted me to think about and observe whether the people around me appear joyful or not.  It has been my observation that, in too many cases, joy is woefully lacking.

Which makes C.S.Lewis’ quote about “dance and game” seem all the more pertinent.  It does not appear that joy is a “natural” inclination.  Laughter, yes.  But not joy.  Joy is learned and cultivated, and it is unaffected by temporal matters.

Brian McLaren has his character Neil Edward Oliver say that, We are becoming on this side of the door of death the kind of people we will be on the other side, (A New Kind of Christian, page 91).  Some people, I fear, are training themselves to be cynical and dark for the rest of their lives.  Joy seems to be missing.  They exist from one laughter producing moment to the next, but there is no current of joy flowing through their lives.

I’ve concluded that real, authentic joy is not evident to the casual observer.  This joy is a paradox.  It is not discovered through conventional wisdom nor human endeavor.  This joy is a constant companion of love, and those who have not learned love have not yet experienced joy.

But in this world everything is upside down.  That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is most like that which in a better country is the End of ends.  Joy is the serious business of heaven.

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