Deep and lasting joy

The Reverend Thomas Robson

The Reverend Thomas Robson

I wonder what you think of when you hear the word ‘joy?’

Christmas perhaps – glad tidings of great joy?

‘Joy’ can sound a little quaint these days, a bit old fashioned. Fine for a Christmas card, but not something we use the rest of the year. But I think we lose something important if we leave the idea of joy in a box in the loft until early December.

Joy speaks of something that is otherwise hard to define. Joy is deeper than happiness and more substantial than fun.

In a recently discovered letter from 1943, C.S Lewis said that he felt that ‘one second of joy is worth 12 hours of pleasure.’

Yet, joy is elusive. We probably all know what it feels like, and hopefully have experienced real joy. But, just at the moment you’re aware of it, it slips away.

You can try and hold on to it, but it will quickly slip through your fingers. I was reminded of that recently as I read a letter from St Paul to a church in Philippi, in modern-day Macedonia.

All the way through he’s talking about joy. The striking thing is that he’s writing from a Roman prison, which doesn’t sound like a very joyful place.

Something in his faith meant that he could still feel a deep joy, even when pleasure and fun were completely absent. As I follow the same path of faith as Paul, even 2,000 years later, I’m learning that it is possible to know a deep and lasting joy.

Faith Matters:

Report on Church Life

A detailed Report examining the opportunities and challenges facing the Church of England in Hastings has been published. Authored by Peter Wheatley, former Bishop of Edmonton, the report reflects the Diocese of Chichester’s strategy to grow the church numerically and spiritually. You can read more about it at the Chichester Diocese website: http://www.chichester.anglican.org/news/2016/09/27/focus-hastings-detailed-review/

Creative Arts Week

From 24th to 28th October, Ashburnham Place, a Christian retreat centre near Battle, is hosting a Creative Arts Week. Workshops are available in creative writing, art, poetry, pottery and photography inspired by a theme of “Open and Shut”. To book a place call 01424 892244 or you can find out more at:http://www.ashburnham.org.uk/individual-retreats/programme-events-diary/creative-arts-week-creative-writing-art-poetry-photography-poetry