Tuesday, February 28, 2012

rest in joy and joy to rest

Help me to rest in joy and joy to rest.

Joy is ecstasy. To be “ecstatic’ literally means to be “out of oneself.”

God is ecstatic. He is the eternally self-emptying one. Jesus did not wash the disciples’ feet in spite of his divinity, he emptied himself because eternally “becoming nothing” is part of his very nature. When God empties himself, it is occasion for joy, not sorrow.

This is how Christians understand the Trinity. The Father leaps out of himself into the Son and the Son leaps out of himself into the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeds from their leaps of love. God is love. Love is joy. There is no joy without love and there is no love without joy.

God is joy. We do well to rest in joy, for to rest in joy is to rest in love.

But joy is active. How does one rest in the activity of joy?

Think of joy as play. Play is not sleep, but it is rest. It is not work, though it is activity. Play is restful activity. God would have us be children again, to rest in joy with him, to play with him.

There are no agendas with God, no lesson plans. He simply wants us to waste time with him, enjoying him. He smiles upon us as we joy to rest in him. He smiles on us regardless, but we become aware of his smile when we stop trying so hard to earn what only he can give freely. Only then is our attention concentrated and only then do we know first-hand he is a God of joy.

Rest in joy and joy to rest.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. -Nehemiah 8:10

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