Kia ora All Saints,
This week I’ve been doing some deep thinking about my life – particularly around the theme of joy (not happiness, a deeper unwavering contentment). I have just farewelled a friend who left with a one-way ticket overseas and she is hugely excited and equally terrified about what her immediate future holds. At the same time, I have not long emerged from our second period of isolation during which I tried to slow down and enjoy the immediate pleasure of spending time on the floor with our toddler. Last week in our Sunday services/house churches we discussed the beatitude, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,’ which was confronting, working out how to deal with the bigness of the pain in this world. I think all of these things have potential to rob us of the joy the Spirit gives us – if we live in the future, seeking joy in the big adventures only, then we miss the simple contentment of our day to day life. If we only live in the present, we lose the drive to push into new, challenging and exciting possibilities. If we dwell too deeply in the brokenness of our world we can lose sight of the hope of God’s kingdom which will one day bring full restoration and is already breaking into our lives now.
So what does joy look like right now? My current thinking is that it is about dwelling in the stability of God – that the Father created and loves us unconditionally, that Jesus is our constant companion and understands us fully, and that the Spirit is working within us even if we can’t see all the results yet. If we hold onto these truths then we can push into the excitement of the future, enjoy the small joys of the present, and mourn for ourselves and the world without being overwhelmed because Jesus promises we will be comforted through the restoration of ourselves and the world.
In the middle of winter I think it is good to have a reminder to make sure our lives are rooted in joy. As we continue to journey through our ‘A kingdom of...’ series, we see the promise of hope for those at the bottom of the heap, in this upside-down kingdom with Jesus at the head. And as we are all about to launch into our visioning process, ‘Taking Flight’, we hold hope for the future of our community, that we and those around us would know the joy of the Lord and experience more of God’s restoration. What do you think that looks like? What kingdom dreams do you have? Make sure you have your say in our Taking Flight sessions!