Journey, Joy, and Jesus
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody.” – Psalm 57:7
Bishop Peter Weaver has been lifting up for us the image of the journey as a helpful compass for navigating through this season of United Methodism. While on vacation recently, I caught up on some reading, including two biographies (see below) which impressed into my spirit the importance of realizing how we do not stay only in one place, but rather we move on to new things. We are on a journey through life, in faith, in community with one another. The United Methodist Church is no less on a journey than any one of us individually. Where we are today is not where we were yesterday. Nor is it where we will be tomorrow. The hope that comes from remembering that we are on a journey is that, if there are things we think need to be changed, we can look forward to a future when that change is possible.
Another book I have been reading refers to “moral joy” as the height of the good life for human beings. Not emotional joy or physical joy or even spiritual joy. People who have moral joy are described as those “whose daily actions are aligned with their ultimate commitments … They are grateful to have found their place and taken their stand.” (The Second Mountain, xxix-xxx) This is not mere cheerfulness or pleasure or delight, all of which come and go. Moral joy is a lasting steadfast peace which the world can neither give nor take away (John 14:27). It is this sense of a core conviction, an inner anchor, a deep faith that gives us courage to face the journey without being undone by the forces we may fear or find frustrating.
When we can see our journey and find our joy in the light of Jesus, then we can be prepared for any challenge, struggle, or difficulty. Not because we can prevail, but because Jesus has prevailed. In His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus has given Himself to us and for us, to the world and for the world, the whole world. His love has been sufficient to see believers through journeys whose troubles are almost impossible for us to imagine. That love has been strong enough to overcome the most challenging of circumstances. Reading those biographies and pondering the problems we are facing in our time, I am reminded that the saving grace of Jesus will see us also through the troubles we are facing and lead us on in a journey whose joy will never end.
Grace and Peace,