Monday, October 15, 2012

Live in Joy - II

At one point, in the history of Israel, the whole nation was homeless. They wandered in the desert, looking for a home. While they wandered, they made a portable temple. They made a special tent to meet God in. When Israel moved, they packed the tent up. And when they stopped, they set up the tent in the middle of where they camped.

When they completed building the tent, they held a special ceremony commemorating it. And at the climax of the ceremony, God's glory was revealed to the people. And the people shouted with joy and bowed before the Lord.

In Scripture, God has revealed himself in various ways, and it has elicited various responses. One response has been joy. A natural outcome of God's presence appears to be joy.

A Carmelite monk name Lawrence left as his legacy a series of letters and interviews where he describes his habit of focusing his heart and mind on God. The purpose was a perpetual communion with God. (Not physically possible of course. But this was Lawrence's aim.)

With his mind, he spoke prayers and worshiped. With his heart, he focused on God's nearness. the greater success he had, the more joy he experienced.

On key to joy is the focus of heart. While it appears to require a fair amount of discipline, it can be practiced anywhere, at any time. Lawrence practiced it while cutting up carrots in the abbey kitchen. It is limited only by a person's desire to commune with God and experience his joy.

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