I went over to Rachel Held Evans blog yesterday. While I was there, I read her post from the lectionary called Advent 3: Living Jubilee. Jubilee is rejoicing. It was the year when debts were forgiven among the people. You could start anew.
Rejoice-another biblical word that my mind wants to fight and explain away.
Maybe that’s where the answer to joy lies-in the Jubilee. That seems redundant. Follow me.
If Jubliee is the year when debts are forgiven and there is much rejoicing and festivities then I can conclude that joy is the experience we have when we forgive and are forgiven.
That’s what we have in Christ, forgiveness. With blood pooling in his eyes from his crown pierced brow, he looked upon the nations of the earth and forgave us all our trespasses. We, sinners, who repeatedly abandon God, were that day, reconciled. As we meditate on such a compassionate sacrifice (the surrendering of one’s life for a friend, let alone an enemy), we begin to have hearts rendered to Thanksgiving. That appreciation for Christ’s precious, eternal gift lifts our hearts in praise. Even in pain, sorrow, and adversity we can praise God. There is no veil. Through Jesus we have been forgiven and can approach God without fear or condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
If I continue on with this thinking then I start to see that joy in the life of a believer is known and expressed not in happiness but more so in forgiveness.
Perhaps to truly be joyful I need to surrender my frustrations, irritations, and complaints to the one who forgave me even though I agitated the Author. Maybe I can attain joyful living when I stop boiling every time my neighbor blares her music, when I let my mom vent about drivers around her without lecturing her on calming her attitude, and when I stop expecting Frank to be my knight in shining armor. Joy will be had, I presume, when I just generally let others be themselves without molding them to my whims.
We speak of preparation at Christmas. If I forgive others as Christ has forgiven me than I will be beginning the preparations for his return; he won’t find me asleep, as I too frequently am. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll find me fulfilling his command-
To love my neighbor as myself; this is done through a radical and uncomfortable, yet amazingly beautiful and gracious, forgiveness like that seen on the Cross.
(Thanks Rachel for your musings. God has placed your writings in my hands to grow closer to him and gain further understanding of what gospel living and breathing, along with complex concepts, is all about.)