Beyond Experience

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, the theme is joy. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Beyond Experience,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, White Clematis, 1887, Claude Monet.

Radiant Truth

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, the theme is joy. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Radiant Truth,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Pink Bowl With Green Grapes, 1992, Craigie Aitchison.

Lost in Time

The theme is joy. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Lost in Time,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Children on the Seashore, Guernsey, 1883?, Auguste Renoir.

Embracing Joy

The theme is Joy, the meditation for today is, “Embracing Joy,” and the focus of our attention is on the painting, By Moonlight, 1994, by Margaret Neve.

Joy in Infancy

Art of Lent meditation for today is entitled, “Joy in Infancy,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Baby in Red Chair, c.1810-30, by unknown artist.

Members of Joy

Joy is an orientation, a disposition of awe and wonder.
The joy foretold by Isaiah is not necessarily a conjuring of an elated feeling, mustering excitement about life when nothing in life seems to be going right, worth celebrating. The joy foretold by Isaiah is that those who did not have full use of their body – can now see, jump up and down, sing…. All will be made right.
There will be joy because not even fools will make unhealthy, unproductive choices; and we will sing together – and everyone will be happy about the music choices!
Jesus is why these things are being made right, even now. And because we are already made right with God, we are empowered to, and deployed to be a part of this right-making.
The justice described in Isaiah happens because of reconciled relationships. In James, we know joy when we stop grumbling and judging each other. Joy happens when we do life together without malice – spiteful, bitter – in easy company.
When the shepherds saw the star – effulgent – they stopped and were filled with joy (Mt2.10). As soon as Elizabeth’s baby heard the sound Mary’s voice, this young woman carrying the savior of the world inside her own womb, when Elizabeth’s baby heard that voice, he leapt for joy inside Elizabeth.
The delight and wonder in a child who just got what she always wanted – effulgent! Joy.
But when we try to manage each other, when I attempt to squash that divine spark (the soul that is made in God’s very image) of someone else, I do great harm.
When you see me for who I am and affirm that, encourage it, everything is right and good – what joy!
How much more so when we are oriented in this way with our children – all of our children: the ones born to us and the ones incorporated into us by way of baptism and membership vows.
Will you walk with me through this week of Advent with a disposition of awe and wonder, an expectation of opening a new day as a child who exclaims, “just what I always wanted!” because we have each other, members of covenant? It is such a good feeling to know we’re alive! Together, members of joy!

Be Present to Joy

On being present to Joy, Sister Wendy Beckett says: “It is inadequate, even misleading, to speak of ‘experiencing joy’, though it is impossible to find another phrase that can suggest what is meant. Joy is too great to be experienced. It is never our own, never within our power. It is rather that we are taken… Continue reading Be Present to Joy

Joy: Cultivating Delight During Advent

What brings you joy?
It isn’t as if we can expect joy to just appear. It is true that some circumstances we find ourselves in might occasionally bring unexpected joy. But it isn’t usual. The practice of loving kindness is a beautiful reminder that every person around me has the same desires and needs that I do. And praying for their well-being shifts my perspective. And maybe I can appreciate them. Perhaps, even delight in them.

Flesh and Blood

I love the Message translation of John 1:14­—“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Parent, like Child, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” Advent prepares us for the celebration of this event: God-with-us. And then, it… Continue reading Flesh and Blood

Breathe: Life and Generosity, Suffering and Joy

One of the contributors to the On Being blog, Omid Safi, recently spoke to suffering and finding joy therein. Safi found that, as a human experience, openness to suffering opens one to another’s suffering. He draws from Rumi: This being human is a guest house Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,… Continue reading Breathe: Life and Generosity, Suffering and Joy