To Complete the Joy

The Resurrection is just the beginning!  Joy comes for the disciples of Jesus when they discover that he is risen, but he has told them that they will need to be the ones who bring that new reality to the world. Last Sunday’s gospel lesson from John reminds us the he has laid it out for  them in the words of that last long conversation with them in the room where they were in preparation for the world turning upside down:

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have  kept my Father’s commndments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment that you love each other as I have loved you.                                                                                             John 15:9-12

To get the full effect of resurrection life, we need to love. So keeping up my Eastertide practice of listening for signs of the resurrection, I listened for love this week. Here is some of what I heard:

  • someone took the time to compose a thoughtful, personal letter to one leaving a position after many years; the letter was filled with astute observation, open-hearted admiration and gentle humor
  • someone celebrated in words and hugs the restored health of a friend, welcoming them back to the community
  • someone drew and wrote a hand-made greeting for Mother’s Day
  • someone kept her silence when she could have slain her conversation partner with witty and lethal repartee
  • someone not  only signed a petition for the ballot asking for justice for many  by  himself, but carried that petition to others for their signature as well
  • someone offered to help out a friend after surgery–driving, feeding, companioning, erranding, just being present
  • someone held up a mirror to a speaker whose words had been hurtful and divisive, asking for a difference in tone and attitude
  • someone told the truth publicly about an action that was being taken, in order for it to be seen for what it really was, rather than the way it was spun in all the rhetoric that flowed around it
  • someone risked making a phone call to see if he was all right

And so it went, and so it goes—words and deeds of Love, offered in the power of the Resurrection. And our joy is completed!

All that loving-kindness in small ways, trailing clouds of joy, has made me mindful of my own words–the choice, the tone, the aptness, the timing. Words are my primary medium of being love to others. So I look at my calendar to see where words of love need to be offered today and this week–in quiet conversation, in group discussion, in marital decision making, in entertaining guest, in welcoming friends, in greeting neighbors, in celebrating a birthday, in delighting in family, in  worshipping—even in writing this blog. “Let the words of my mouth…be acceptable to you, O God,” and may my joy be complete, as well as the joy of the ones I am given to love and serve.

 

About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.

  • sandy

    “My job is loving the world” says Mary Oliver, and she speaks specifics of what she sees, what she loves…THIS flower, THIS plum…
    It is our job too, this loving. “Which is mostly standing still and being astonished.”
    Your words astonish me, and remind me to do “my job” today- loving my corner of the world,
    and looking for the Love that is there. Thanks!


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