NT Wright a New Testament scholar puts it this way: "Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world ... That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God's new world, which he has thrown open before us." That quote is from "Simple Christian" by NT Tom Wright. It calls us into JOY. We have considered HOPE. We are challenged to enact through the presence of the Spirit, what PEACE means. And now on this third Sunday in Advent we are reminded that living in the true story of Jesus of Nazareth we are welcomed into a life of JOY. In Advent we not only recall what has happened and whose narrative we are invited into. We anticipate the return of Christ. But how do we live in joy when chaos and pain surround us. What habits of daily living has our Creator gifted to us as followers of Jesus so that we can experience JOY central to our lives whatever the circumstances. Reflection Praise Practising the Presence of God Forgiveness Hospitality Fun Artistry Each will have their own practises shaping JOY in our lives. And JOY is foundational to our flourishing. But yet it seems to resists definition. JOY is not much heard in modern theological reflection, not the social sciences, and is increasingly absent from lived experience. But in anticipating the return of Jesus Christ, we know that Jesus invites his followers into the life of service to Christ in New Creation. 1 Corinthians 15:45 Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. And as we participate in service of God anticipating Christ's return we do so with JOY knowing that the brokenness of our world one day will be totally New Creation.
I started following Jesus in 1972 while a journalist for The Courier Mail. I moved overseas in 1977 living in China, the USA, the UK for a little under 30 years. I returned to Australia in 2005. I love being among the nations. I love study. I love encouraging the coming generations.