Yesterday we began a message series at our church (River Park CRC, a really great church, by the way, of which I take little to no credit for). We’re focusing on joy because despite our church’s really fine quality, we’ve been pretty mopey lately, looking like Eeyore and that cloud that follows him around.
We’re inviting everyone to a 90 day joy experiment, a shameless rip-off of the foundation for Mike Mason’s Champagne for the Soul. I love the notion of this being an experiment, a time-bound exploration that leaves room for failure. And it’s all about living out the incredible invitation to experience God’s gift of joy.
And today was a good start. I drove my son to his Gr. 1 class, where I joined the class for a very brief presentation. They are talking about families and each student gets to bring in a family heirloom. So Owen and I decided we’d bring in the big guns of family heirlooms – the 320 year old Dordrecht Bible that’s been passed down in my family for a few generations. It’s a big, old leather bound, brass-latched pulpit Bible that I received from my Tante Corrie who lives in the Netherlands. She gave it to me when I finished my ministry training in seminary. A great, thoughtful gift (but I don’t think anyone told her I don’t read 17th century Dutch so I’m sticking with my thin-line TNIV).
Anyways, I’m in the Gr. 1 classroom with Owen, and he’s got this bashful pride about him. He sits on my lap in front of his class and he’s got this “I’m-so-lucky-that-my-dad-is here-I-could-just-about-pee-my-pants” vibe going on. And everything else sort fades away for a moment, and I’m thinking, “I’m the luckiest dad in the universe.” And if it wasn’t for the public venue of his classroom, and the endless shame he might endure on the playground, I wanted to squeeze the stuffing out of him and never let go. Joy was not a difficult choice in that moment.
I know there’s going to be other days with far more challenging moments to a life of joy. But today I’m rejoicing in a son who loves his dad. That was a little emblem of the gospel logic for joy. If joy fills my heart because my kid thinks this way of me, my heart might just come apart at the seams because God my Father is quite fond of me too.
For the next 90 days, I’m going to do my best to blog daily on this experiment. Some days it might be a reflection like this, others it might be a quote or a passage from the Bible. But for anyone joining us in this experiment, I hope there will be something to keep before you the challenge of choosing joy. And I hope you’ll comment too – let’s share the experiment through our conversation together.