Paul commands us to rejoice. Echoing the ancient Psalmist, he rehearses the call to “Rejoice in the Lord.” How can joy be commanded?
After several days at the beach, my siblings and I were growing weary with play. We started complaining, arguing, and expressing general discontent. Suddenly my dad’s voice boomed into the mix, “I paid good money for this trip and you had better enjoy it!”
Half fearful of the consequences of not enjoying the vacation, we quit complaining and stiffly tried to enjoy. Somehow joy under command seems odd, if not impossible. It seems inauthentic. Continue reading
Sabbath is like remembering home.
image courtesy of Thomas Hawk (via Creative Commons)
Singsong voices ringing in the air. Running through the house, out the back yard and circling round again. Burnt leaves lining the sides of the streets. Aromas of autumn float in the air. Rolling pastries to the hum of Christmas songs. Family and friends crowded around the dinner table. Long stories. Loud laughter. Drooping eyelids.
Longing for an innocence, a wonder, a place before.
Abraham Joshua Heschel tells the story of a prince sent away from his home, his father. He wanders the world alone, longing for his Father’s love and approval. One day a messenger arrives outside the lodging of the prince and announces, “Prepare to come home.” Filled with joy, the prince runs through the village and into the local tavern. “Food and drinks for all. Today is a day of great joy for I’ve heard the call to come home.” Heschel says that Sabbath is a day of great joy for we are going home to see the Father. Continue reading