(This entire post is taken from The Soul of C.S. Lewis by Martindale, Root, and Washington, pg. 134)
(Read my book review on this book).
Do we take joy seriously? How many of us stood in vacation Bible school in younger years, clapping and singing, "The joy of the Lord is my strength," feeling anything but joyful and just wanting to get to the good part - the snack? Many of us were not taught to take joy seriously as children, and we take it no more seriously as adults.
One problem is that we don't have a good idea what joy really means. We think joy is something we're supposed to have when we aren't happy but are expected to have a good attitude anyhow. For most of us, joy seems more like a martyr complex than like the wild celebrations described in the Bible. People danced uncontrollably with joy, wept with joy, made music, and had feasts. Joy is not meant to be a grin-and-bear-it situation. It is exuberant and free and more than happy - not less than. And joy, says Lewis, is the serious business of heaven.
What a crazy thought! Isn't the serious business of heaven...serious? Like chanting in Latin or serenely playing a harp - everyone calm, no one really happy. If that's what we think, how much we have missed! We often imagine heaven to be like an exercise in spiritual discipline, but we forget that one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines is celebration, which is directly linked to joy. If the serious business of heaven is joy, then imagine the levity and the laughter we have to look forward to: heads thrown back and dancing with an exhilarating kind of joy. Perhaps we can take a cue from David (and others in the Bible), as well as from Lewis, to begin practicing now for this most serious business of heaven. Why not be daring and begin today? With laughter, celebration, thanksgiving, and praise, we can join the host of heaven in the delightful practice of joy.