However many years anyone may live, let him rejoice in them all. Ecclesiastes 11:8 (NIV)
Choose to See the Beauty – Live In the Movement Series – Part 7
The foundation of our spirituality, the reason, and motivation behind it all is not (should not be) the fear of where we’ll go when we die, the shame of our sins and failings, the earnestness to please and impress, the desire to be right, the pursuit of certainty and security…
Why spirituality? Why Jesus? Why be awake and aware and alive to The Divine at work in you, through you, and around you?
Joy is the foundation, the reason, and the culmination.
Creation, communion, feasts and festivals, the exodus and the temple restoration, the commandments and the sacrifices, the virgin birth, the death and burial and resurrection, friends and family and community… all for joy.
What do you find in the movement of life? The dance that God is and God does? (Thank you Richard Rohr and CS Lewis – see earlier devotions) The unforced rhythms of the aggressive forgiveness we call grace?
You find joy.
This, all of it, everything and everyone, the earth and the heavens, the prayers and the protests, and the work and the trials – yes, even the trials – you can find joy here.
In ancient Hebrew the word for “joy” is Simcha. In the Torah, Simcha is not an individual experience; it has a collective quality. Simcha is joy shared. Simcha is a dance. Simcha is movement. It is not something we can experience in solitude.
In Judaism joy is the supreme religious emotion. Not conviction, not piety, not “I’ve done all the right things.” Joy. It says: Here we are, in a big beautiful world. Every breath we breath is the spirit of God within us. All around us is the love that moves the sun and all the stars. We are here because someone wanted us to be. And yes, there is grief and disappointments, problems and pains, but beneath it all is the wonder that we are here among people who carry within them a trace of the Divine.
Joy is connection. How connected are you to God? Others? And even yourself?
“Spiritual joy has nothing to do with anything “going right.” It has everything to do with things going, and going on within you. It’s an inherent, inner aliveness. Joy is almost entirely an inside job.”
You let joy find you by surrendering to the unforced rhythms of grace; opening your heart to The Divine right here, right now, no matter what is going on in your life.
To find joy is to choose to see the beauty in the world around you, and in those around you. It takes equal parts of letting go and dogged determination. You have to say no to the stagnation, the temptation to wall your life up and isolate yourself, the deceptive pleasure of idleness, even the urge to bench yourself after you’ve done something wrong. And you surrender into grace. Because even in failure, even in tragedy, joy can find you and get you dancing again.
Connection is what gets us back on our feet every time. In this, our mistakes and sufferings become our greatest teachers if we let them.
How do you find this joy? It’s in the movement. It IS the movement. Not because “you’ve got all the right moves,” but because you’re showing up and joining in the dance.
If you ever find yourself sidelined, no matter where how or what, you have the power (always) to move again, and again, and again.
Written by Liz Milani
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