Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Overflowing Joy

At that very moment, Jesus overflowed with joy from the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and shown them to babies. Indeed, Father, this brings you happiness.”

                                                                                                    Luke 10:21

I would have loved to see Jesus overflow with joy. I don’t recall having read such a description of Jesus elsewhere, but I can imagine it. Can you? 

This verse is part of the story of the seventy-two who have been sent out and have now returned to share their experiences. Imagine the excitement they brought, and Jesus, in the thick of their excitement, exclaiming with joy to God! It is a glimpse, surely, of what heaven must be, and the overflowing joy that is part and parcel of eternal life. 

I’ve had those moments of overflowing joy, and I’m sure you’ve had them too. Last weekend, I was in the North Georgia mountains, and one morning, as I sat outside in the crisp, cool air, I saw the sun strike the mountain in front of me. It brought tears to my eyes, a moment of overflowing joy. We experience such moments, and most of them take place in events of everyday life. Something clicks, and we are present in a way that is hard to describe. If we do try to describe it, we cannot adequately convey why it is such a moment for us.

Maybe such moments are when we actually experience the world with childlike wonder. Jesus speaks of things being hidden from the wise and intelligent and shown instead to babies. To overflow with joy requires that we lay aside being “reasonable” and embrace imaginative delight, that we receive God’s kingdom, which is everywhere, all around us, as a child.

Are you open to experiencing overflowing joy? Are you willing to let go of stiff, stuffy adulting to see the ordinary as extraordinary, with the eyes of a child?

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Some people talk so brilliantly

That we get small and vanish.

                             From Thoughts, Robert Bly


Invisible whenever guests came,

longing to engage in conversation but overpowered.

Did my presence even matter to you?

Damn you, let me speak! Turn the spotlight

off yourself. Words that fell on deaf ears

because I was small in your eyes.

Now you don’t see me at all. I’m gone,

done with invisibility, smallness.

Go ahead, fill the house with your brilliance,

your many words. Talk your fool head off.

I am where my presence matters,

shining like the sun.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Stubbornness or Adventure

Last week I was in the mountains for some time away. I didn’t go to the mountains with a plan to hike to waterfalls, but most days, those were the trails I chose.

One day I found a great place to eat lunch by a waterfall. As I ate, I noticed leaves that, instead of being washed downstream, were stubbornly clinging to rock, even though water was rushing forcefully over them. I cannot explain how they managed to hold on tightly where they were.

Certainly, there is a time to hold fast, but also there is a time to let go. I thought about the adventure of riding the current of the stream, and how, if we are too intractable, we miss out on the grand adventure that is life. To let go makes one vulnerable, because we cannot know what lies downstream for us.

However, staying stuck to the rock means those leaves will slowly disintegrate right where they are. We can wither when we are stubborn. We can stick so hard to a belief, a way of living, a job, that we wither away in that position. I have certainly known people whose stubbornness kept them from experiencing growth and adventure in their lives. To take hold of life means a willingness to live in the flow, even when that flow takes us through difficult or painful changes. A life immune from risk isn’t much life at all.