Meditation

In Sunday School, children are sometimes taught this acrostic:

J – Jesus first
O – Others next
Y – Yourself last.

Is this formula too childish, too simplistic to be true? Certainly it runs utterly against the grain of our culture, which advises us to look out for “number one.” Even in our spiritual communities we often hear people give advice to others who are spending their lives serving Jesus to, “take time out for yourself…  if you don’t, you’ll burn out.” How do you think Mother Teresa would have responded to such a suggestion?

Wrestle with these questions this week:

What is the source of the deepest and most lasting joy I know?
How does this joy compare to the fleeting frivolities that advertise themselves as being the source of true happiness?
In times of crisis, confusion or depression, distress and grief, what does it mean to be able to “rejoice in the Lord always?”

Consider the possibility that the best time we can take for ourselves is our time of contemplation and prayer before God, our time in conversation with the Holy Spirit. Could it be that our “burn out” is directly related to our neglect of our relationship and conversation with Jesus Christ?

Prayer for Illumination:

Author of grace and our Eternal Guide, Jesus,
As I make my pilgrimage through this life,
shed your light upon my way; keep me from slipping or going astray.
Speak to me in the recorded witness of community and church
that through the Spirit’s interpretation of the Scriptures
I may find direction, strength and joy;
through Christ Jesus, Shepherd of my soul. Amen.

Music for Contemplation

This fall Christian musician Todd Agnew released a new album called “Need.” In that album, the first song is titled “Joy Unspeakable.” Let me share the lyrics of this song and a link to listen to this album:

Album “Need” by Todd Agnew

Joy Unspeakable

I’ve found His grace is all complete.
He supplies my every need, mm…mm…
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free…indeed.
What kind of joy is this?

It’s joy unspeakable…
all You’ve done for me.
It’s indescribable…
just a taste of Your glory.
And it’s unnatural…
not to tell the story
of all You’ve given me.
My words are incomplete.
It’s joy unspeakable.

I’ve found the pleasure I once craved.
It’s joy and peace within….within.
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
from the awful gulf of sin.

It’s joy unspeakable…
all You’ve done for me.
It’s indescribable…
just a taste of Your glory.
And it’s unnatural…
not to tell the story
of all You’ve given me.
My words are incomplete.
It’s joy unspeakable.

I’ve found the joy no tongue can tell.
How its waves of glory roll!
It’s like an overflowing well…
springing up within my soul.

It’s joy unspeakable…
all You’ve done for me.
It’s indescribable…
just a taste of Your glory.
And it’s unnatural…
not to tell the story
of all You’ve given me.
My words are incomplete.
It’s joy unspeakable.

It’s joy unspeakable…
joy unspeakable…
What kind of joy is this!?

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