Happy. Interesting word, isn't it? And interesting theological implications, too, right? I've often made the distinction between happiness and joy, the former depending on "happenings" (clever) and circumstances, while the latter swells up from a deeper, less mercurial place making it therefore a seemingly more mature emotion in the Christian world.
My thoughts on "happy" might be changing thanks to a recent class I took to fulfill Cru's theological development requirement . January's course on Humanity, Christ, Salvation kicked off a veritable soul-ar vortex (Hey, pre-Super Bowl, it was #cold in NYC.).
“Through the gospel God realizes his covenant purpose
and thereby manifests his supreme glory
and makes us supremely happy.”
Hello? God makes us supremely happy through the gospel? Isn't that a bit too trite? "Happy"? Dr. Swain used the next 25 hours to explain that, theologically speaking, yes. Happy.
When I reflect on the soundbites exchanged in quick conversations, especially during the long four weeks of February which stand between winter's brute January and the sunshine kiss of March, my words seem more like a tragedy or a hipster's ironic enthusiasm. I don't live gospel "happy".
What's the general mood on your team? What concerns your staff? Where are the stressor points? How can you show genuine care for one another and remind each other of God's compassion? What difference does Jesus make?
Maybe you have a "friend" who, like me, needs a reminder of the GOOD in the Good News. If so, here's a profound excerpt from the Heidelberg Catechism:
Question 1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer 1. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Lead a team discussion on the "supremely happy" thesis statement (in bold, above) and the Heidelberg Catechism excerpt. Here are some questions which may open up the discussion:
What stands out to you from the Heidelberg Catechism?
How do feel about the word, "happy"?
What else comes to mind when you hear these statements?
What verses make you think/feel 'happy'?
Which hymns, songs, other music produce the same reaction?
What pieces of art, poetry, books point you to Jesus?
Describe a time when the gospel made you feel happy.
What can help you recover or maintain that happiness?
Creative Commons license image "Happy Heart" by flickr user fauxto_digit
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