Thursday, December 9, 2010

With God There Is Joy

"Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads" (Isa. 35:10). Since ancient times in the Christian church, acedia - sadness of the heart, resignation - has been considered a mortal sin. "Serve the Lord with gladness!" (Ps. 100:2 RSV), urges the Scripture. For this, our life has been given to us, and for this, it has been sustained for us to this present hour. The joy that no one can take from us belongs not only to those who have been called home, but also to us who are still living. In this joy we are one with them, but never in sadness. How are we supposed to be able to help those who are without joy and courage, if we ourselves are not borne by courage and joy? What is meant here is not something made or forced, but something given and free. With God there is joy, and from him it comes down and seizes spirit, soul, and body. And where this joy has seized a person, it reaches out around itself, it pulls others along, it bursts through closed doors. There is a kind of joy that knows nothing at all of the pain, distress, and anxiety of the heart. But it cannot last; it can only numb for a time. The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross; therefore it is invincible and irrefutable.

D. Bonhoeffer, page 362 I Want to Live These Days With You

(Bold emphasis my own)

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