Forming Faith Blog

The Church at Home: Joy

A drawing of a dark cross at dawn with a white cloth. The resurrection is a cause for joy.

The news right now is grim and anxiety-producing. It seems like every email I receive and Facebook post I read tells me the way of life we have experienced in the past is over. But you know that. You don’t need me to tell you about it.

A Different Easter

Coming up we are facing our first major holiday (holy day) under some form of stay-at-home order. This means we are not able to go to church and hear the trumpets and the songs nor are we able to gather with extended family or friends for food and fellowship. Most of us will be celebrating Easter only with the people in our immediate households, whether that be one, two, six, or ten. Easter will be different, and possibly a lot quieter this year. Perhaps even sadder.

Quite a somber beginning for a post about joy, right? But that’s on purpose. This is our current reality, and we need to stay real. God’s good news is not a utopian fantasy. No, it’s grounded in real life, even when real life sucks.

Happiness

There is a difference between joy and happiness. As we often use the term, we are happy when things are going well. We are happy about seeing an old friend or spending time with a loved one. We are happy after a great meal or a funny movie. Used in this way, happiness is based on circumstances. When things are good, we are happy. When things are bad, we are sad (anxious, angry, etc.).

Joy

Joy is different. Joy is like the green shoot pushing its way through a late spring snow. Joy can come to us in even the worst circumstances. That’s because joy is the result of love. And love, real love, is not just for the good times. Love perseveres through loss and mourning. It keeps us going, it draws us to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of our friend and teacher. Love even survives our terror and anxiety when everything we thought we knew coming crashing down around us, when “terror and amazement [seize us]; and [we say] nothing to anyone, for [we are] afraid” (Mark 16:8).

Joy in Sorrow

Our Easter Bible reading this year is not a happy one. It is full of mourning, alarm, terror, and amazement. But even in Mark’s telling, the seed of joy is present and growing. Because Jesus is no longer dead, but alive. The impossible happened. Death is broken. God’s love has prevailed.

So, even if our Easter celebration this year is dry and lonely, we can cling onto God’s great love for us. We can sink our toes into the knowledge that nothing, not even death can stop the love, light, and life of Christ, risen for you. I hope that you will have a very happy Easter this year. But, if not, I pray that you can be filled with the joy of an empty tomb and a risen Savior.

In the peace and joy of Christ,

Gregory Rawn (Publisher)


When you download the free Sharing God’s Story @ Home devotional insert, linked below, you will have a resource to guide daily devotional time. Using this resource and your own creativity, design devotions for yourself and your family or friends. I will be providing this resource for free on a weekly basis, so check back at this blog each week! I hope this will be helpful for you in the days ahead.

Devotional Insert for Easter Sunday (April 12) through Saturday, April 18.

Daily Bible Readings online (Here you can subscribe to our daily Bible readings calendar so that you can see them on your electronic calendar.)