An Alphabet of Prayer

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Joy: Joy is an expression of our deepest longing. In our pursuit of human thriving, joy is a marker along the way, suggesting we can live in the moment appreciating this now even when some other now long past is held dear.

In John 15:10–11 we hear these words from Jesus: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” Joy is innately connected with love-in-action. It is somehow part of living as our best, most ethical selves.

Samuel Wells tells us “Hope is the music of disciplined joy” implying that joy is something we work toward, not just something we receive ex nihilo. Karl Barth turns joy another way saying, “Joy is an intensification, strengthen, deepening, and elevation of the whole awareness of life which as such is necessarily more than joy.” In this way there is a meditative quality to joy. When we become aware of the interconnection and very gift of life, we can find ourselves in tune with the possibility with joy.

And Rumi pushes us on toward joy, despite what might prevent us from living in a house of joy saying, “What seems to be keeping you from joy may be what leads you to joy.”

Is there a path toward sacred joy in this season? Rumi would say yes.

Praying the Alphabet
Jesus who journeys with us,
we long for the joy of your company,
the chatter and jaw of your enduring friendship.
Between jam-packed days
and jaw-dropping sunset,
give us your nearness.
For we join in the jostle of public life,
with justice-oriented aspiration at the fore,
praying for the jobless, a hope
for the jailed, a freedom song
for the jittery, a centering peace.
We need you, O God, on this journey.

February 12, 2022

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