This Sunday, we launch a new worship series at The Grove on the book of Philippians. Back in January, we chose one theme to trace throughout this letter from Paul to the church: Joy.
Now, in this season of loss, anxiety, suffering, and violence, joy doesn’t just seem elusive—it seems offensive. But, maybe that’s just because we’ve never understood joy in the first place. Our current situation may seem like nothing we’ve ever known, but it’s not altogether dissimilar to Paul’s conditions when he wrote this joy-soaked letter.
Plagues were common, war was omnipresent, the state sanctioned violence as the most expedient way to achieve control, and Paul himself was writing from prison awaiting his execution. Yet, he wrote about joy. Not joy he expected to feel someday, as a reward, but the joy he knew—even in the midst of pain and threats.
Never have we ever needed the joy of the Lord more than we need it now. Thanks be to God that, through the scriptures, Paul bears witness to a joy we can tap into, not merely when it is most likely—but when we need it most.