Acts 15. 7-21

Joy“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Do you know that some people think that being a Christian means that you have to be boring and really serious. But actually, God gave us just one life and Jesus said we have to make the most of our one life and enjoy it. That includes being joyful, or happy. I wonder if we can think of things that make us happy?

Laughter is found all through the Bible, from beginning to end. For example, in the book of Genesis God tells Abraham and Sarah that they are going to have a child. Sarah is too old to have a child she’s 90 years old and when she hears what God has said she laughs. This laughter is so important that they call their child Isaac, as the name means ‘laughter’. Isaac is one of the great forefathers of the Jewish faith and Sarah, one of the great foremothers of the faith, is the one who laughed.

Who likes jokes…

A priest at the Harvest Family service asked the children to name some of the things they had brought to the harvest service… Carrots , said one little girl.

Potatoes said a little boy, another little boy said Peas..

That’s really good said the priest, Now can anyone give me a word that covers all these things?

Gravy! Shouted someone from the back of the church….

Laughter can make you feel better if your feeling down… It can heal not only the body but the soul as well.

Joy is not just about laughter, it’s about a bubbling excitement inside us.

It’s the kind of feeling Mary Magdalene felt when she met Jesus in the Garden on Easter Sunday.. that made her want to run and jump and tell the world that Jesus was alive.

There is nothing joyful about being beaten up and put in prison but Paul and Silas still felt joy and singing hymns to God when they were locked up in a prison cell.

It’s this kind of joy that makes us want to laugh, to cry, to jump, it makes our hearts race, and smiles so wide there is no doubting that something fantastic has happened.

I wonder when was the last time you felt that much joy?

The newspapers and media are full of negative things, so many bad things happening in the world, it feels sometimes like there is nothing to celebrate nothing to feel joyful about.

But all around us, if we look we have something to be thankful for, things to make us feel joyful..

Perhaps, there should be a newspaper full of ‘Good News’ where people share positive stories, stories where people have helped them, or achieved something, or got married, or baptised. Maybe people could share the fact they have overcome some mountain they have been climbing, like defeating an illness or a difficulty. Maybe their football team has won, or the sun has come out.

I wonder if this ‘Good News’ sharing would make a difference in our lives?

Perhaps your church or Sunday school, or school could make a good news board – with positive news and even have a place for thank you’s on it.

Or even have a Good New section in your church pew sheet, share your joy with others.

Thinking about what positive things have happened in the week is a good starting point for prayer and helping us realise just how much we have to be grateful for as very often we being our prayers by ‘asking’.

This coming week pray thankfulness for the joy you feel and share that joy with a smile for everyone you meet.
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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