I have always thought that a relationship with God is a serious relationship, but ultimately a friendship. How do we balance the seriousness of God along with the joy of God? Is the only way we can truly enjoy the world is to spend it all the time in a state of constant serious prayer and meditation? It doesn't seem to me that that can be true. Does God really frown upon a lively conversation among friends, at a dance in the rain, or a bit of blues and rock and roll?
I Loved the question. I find myself singing a little less rock and roll these days, playing my guitar nearly as much, but dancing in the rain a lot more, and conversation with friends is generally dependent on their tolerance to my "seriousness"...
I replied there in the forum this way:
"How do we balance the seriousness of God along with the joy of God?"
I find a chuckle here, in reading this... the words came into my head immediately: "take the Joy of God Seriously!"
what is the Joy of God?
is a joy that I may be feeling the Joy of God?
what is the discernment there?
for me, if its about greed, lust, envy, then yes, it is self-centered joy and not God centered Joy - easy...
the moment I catch myself in the pursuit of greed/lust/envy based activities, Im faced with a choice, if I really am looking: 'do I continue this because its the easier thing to do, or do I look again, and discern for myself and God, the reasons why I would pursue this activity?'
for me, the moment I give it space, and Look, with sincerity in my heart, then I see that I AM in the Joy of God... this life, lived, is the Joy of God... this life lived in greed and lust and envy, is a life lived in the joy of "having" the joy of "getting" the joy of "obtaining" - that can easily be seen as self-centered activity, ambition... based on "more- more- more" ... that celebrates this life as if it were full of scarcity and lack- did God give us a world of scarcity and lack? Look at a starving child in a third world country, and it would appear so ... look at the greed that keeps that child from getting food, so that others can have "more", and there is the scarcity, there is the lack, there is the envy... is my playing a rock and roll song contributing to that? maybe so! maybe not...
am I looking to have an answer, so that I can continue to play the rock and roll songs? or do I really want to find out the truth of this?
see? there is God's Joy- finding out the Truth of abundance and scarcity... THAT is the Joy! the Truth of that... if you see that playing your music and going to parties is contributing to a child starving somewhere, then what? if you see it DIRECTLY, that it does or it does not, then what?
what will you do to see it directly?
will the opinion that I give here, be of any meaning or help, to your seeing it directly, and finding Gods Joy?
In the US, we are coming up on the Holidays... will I abstain from taking a meal on Thanksgiving, in solidarity with a starving child? will my statement mean anything to anyone but me? will the starving child feel this? THERE is God in the starving child, and THERE is God in everyone around the table! does a political statement make a difference to any of them? or to God? Is there another kind of statement?
If I sing a Christmas Carole, "Joy to the World" - and if the next song sung is "White Christmas" - or "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - have I swung over from "good" to "bad" in such an instant, by such a participation? do the children in the room, who have yet to learn the meaning of Christmas, care? what does it mean to their parents, that I sing with them? that I pick up my guitar, and play along with the singing? is God in the words more than the voice? more than the notes?
stay in these questions, I say...
what value is my opinion, until you see directly, what is God's Joy? Until you come to know directly, how Love acts in the world, any ideas from others will lead you away from God... opinions, history lessons, theologies, they are all outward things... God is inward, go there... Look there- Be with Him there... and then, the other answers will come, without need of "doing" or struggle or conflict... action then will be pure- will be of Love, and not self...
the Joy of God, seriously