Where has your joy gone? Who has stolen your joy?
These spiritual check-up questions need to be asked on a regular basis. But they must always be followed up by another question:
What brings you great joy?
Today, we parachute into the Gospel of Luke as we celebrate Day 19 in the #LentChallenge, reading though the Gospels in preparation for Resurrection Sunday. To download a free copy of the reading plan, click here. If you’re joining me using the Color Method, click here to download the Gospel of Luke without verse references.
The long awaited arrival of one infant. The thrill is too much for the heavens to contain. The angels bubble with celebration. The moment all of history awaits arrives. The news breaks on the most unsuspecting people.
Two women. One young. One old. One a virgin. The other infertile.
Two men. One likely a carpenter. The other a priest. Neither expecting the news of their beloveds’ pregnancy.
Yet both stories are covered in confetti-like joy. Elizabeth’s belly bounces at the sound of Mary’s voice. Then Mary breaks into song. Zachariah pens his own anthem of praise. Angels illuminate the sky rejoicing. Shepherds are left slack jawed and wonderstruck, overflowing with joy and awe at their encounter with the infant Jesus. Simeon and Anna soon follow suit—rejoicing and sharing the delightful news with all who will listen.
“Joy is a spectrum of emotions, actions, and responses that include gladness, cheer, happiness, merriment, delighting, dancing, shouting, exulting, rejoicing, laughing, playing, brightening, blessing and being blessed, taking pleasure in and being well pleased.”
In these opening chapters of Luke, we joy is expressed in a multitude of ways.
But as I read this familiar passage, I wrestled with the question:
What do I most need to read but least want to hear?
Though I grinned with every expression of joy, I couldn’t help but notice the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the text. He was on the move—mighty and tangible. Preparing. Comforting. Breathing life.
In my life, I ache that for that tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.
In many circles, the Holy Spirit gets pushed to the back corner, rather than invited center stage. Yet when we invite the Holy Spirit to move in our lives, to lead, guide, comfort, restore…we open our hearts up discovering more of Jesus and the Father. That trio is always bragging on each other.
So my prayer today:
Holy Spirit, Come. Come into my life. Today. Speak. Lead. Nudge. Guide. Help me to be sensitive and responsive to your presence. I’m willing and ready. Use me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What do you most need to read but least want to hear from today’s reading? Share in the comments.