Saturday, September 25, 2010

Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven (C.S. Lewis)

(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).

Let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.  Spread Your protection over them that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy.
Psalm 5:11

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.

4 friends had this to say:

Sharon Kirby said...

LOVED this. For one thing, C.S. Lewis is my all-time favorite author (I just found out today that they're publishing a C.S. Lewis Bible in October!!)
But what you had to say was so good. You made me think when you said that joy is something MORE than happy - it is serious business. If that's the case, then we need to understand it, and practice it. We need to plug our hearts into it like electricity. It seems to me that we need to tap into our "inner child" - children seem to understand exuberant joy, rollicking laughter, and the tremendous soul-worth of a smile.

No wonder Jesus loved children, and tells us to have child-like faith...I think maybe it had something to do with JOY!


******Shelly****** said...

Hi Sharon! This post is actually straight from the book! :) I loved it, so just had to share. Joy is something we need to understand, I believe, in order to be the kind of representatives and witnesses that we are meant to be on earth. Needed also to live victoriously, overcoming every obstacle put in our path. I want to do more than trudge through, barely making it...God's plans are so much greater than we can imagine. And He is so much greater than our minds can conceive. Let's celebrate Him! :)

I, too, LOVE C.S. Lewis' writing....I did not know about the Bible! I'll have to check that out as well! Thanks!


Dorothy Adamek said...

Thanks Shelly! What a beautiful post. I'm so glad you chose to share this with us. Like Sharon, it reminds me of the child-like nature God looks for in all of us.
Let's be joyful,
Dorothy :)

Melanie said...

C.S. Lewis...what a heart for God and His truths!