Even though we remember St. John of the Cross in the lectionary today, I felt one of the readings from this past Sunday was a good place to start from. After having had one of the worst events of my life occur within the past few weeks, the signifigance of the Bible readings are all the more important.
I have a friend who’s been through many trials in life that has come through them with grace. One aspect of her positive attitude that gave me a fresh perspective on the Philippians reading is remembering a time when she greeted a co-worker at a busy hospital who was frazzled on a Sunday.
My friend’s great, joyful response was this – “Smile, it’s the Lord’s day!” May we all strive to have this level of joy to express to those around us.
It’s interesting that the lectionary readings get to Philippians 4:4-7 during a time when the secular, retail version of the Christmas season is in full swing. After all, it can be hard to look at the joy of the season when there are inconsiderate drivers on the road, rude shoppers in the stores, and a slew of bad memories for many people at this time.
While it’s a happy coincidence that this “joyful Sunday” comes after the things that irritate many about the holidays have been going on for a few weeks, we can draw comfort from Paul’s words. The earliest generation of Christians maybe didn’t have to deal with a stressful, shopping-influenced holiday season, but they did have more than their share of troubles.
What we can take away from this lesson: be happy. Let your light shine for all to see. Don’t give up on prayer. Most importantly, trust the One who is best able to guard your heart and mind.