Have Christians become deaf to joy?

[Jesus said] I am on my way to You. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that my followers will have the same complete joy that I do.         John 17:13

Christ in GloryIt is the Lord’s Day, the Eighth Day, the day beyond the Sabbath’s rest, where we enter the Messianic Feast of the New Jerusalem and are united with our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ as we receive the True Food and Drink, the Body and Blood of Jesus. Rejoice!

From St. Simeon the New Theologian, Saint of the Eastern Church, We Awaken in Christ’s Body:

“For if we genuinely love Him, we wake up inside Christ’s body where all our body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as Him, and He makes us utterly real, and everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in Him transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in His light he awakens as the Beloved in every last part of our body.”

FromThe Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann:

“The source of false religion is the inability to rejoice or, rather, the refusal of joy, whereas joy is absolutely essential because it is without any doubt the fruit of God’s presence. One cannot know that God exists and not rejoice. Only in relation to joy are the fear of God and humility correct, genuine, fruitful… The first, the main source of everything is ‘my soul rejoices in the Lord…’ The fear of sin does not save from sin. Joy in the Lord saves. A feeling of guilt or moralism does not liberate from the world and its temptations. Joy is the foundation of freedom, where we are called to stand. Where, how, when has this tonality of Christianity become distorted, dull—or rather, where, how, why have Christians become deaf to joy? … People continually come and ask for advice… And some weakness or false shame keeps me from telling each of them, ‘I don’t have any advice to give you.I have only weak, shaky, but, for me, unremitting joy. Do you want it?” No, they do not. They want to talk about ‘problems’ and chat about ‘solutions.’ No, there was no greater victory of the devil in the world than this ‘psychologized’ religion. There is anything and everything in psychology. One thing is unthinkable, impossible: Joy!…

“I think God will forgive everything except lack of joy; when we forget that God created the world and saved it. Joy is not one of the ‘components’ of Christianity, it’s the tonality of Christianity that penetrates everything—faith and vision. Where there is no joy, Christianity becomes fear and therefore torture. We know about the fallen state of the world only because we know about its glorious creation and its salvation by Christ… This world is having fun; nevertheless it’s joyless because joy (different from what is called ‘fun’) can be only from God, only from on high—not only joy of salvation, but salvation as joy. To think—every Sunday we have a banquet with Christ, at His table, in His Kingdom; then we sink into our problems, into fear and suffering. God saved the world through joy: ‘…you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy…’

A Prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian:

You, O Christ, are the Kingdom of Heaven; You, O Christ, are the Kingdom of Heaven; You, the land promised to the meek; You, the meadowland of paradise; You, the hall of the celestial banquet; You, the ineffable bridal chamber; You, the table set for all, You, the bread of life; You, the unheard-of drink; You, both the urn for the water and the life-giving water; You, moreover, the inextinguishable lamp for each one of the saints; You, the garment and the crown and the One who bestows the crowns; You, the joy and rest; You, the delight and glory; You, the gladness and mirth.

And Your grace, the grace of the Spirit of all sanctity, will shine like the sun in all the saints; And You, the unapproachable Sun, will shine in their midst; and all will shine brightly, according to the measure of their faith, their asceticism, their hope and their love, their purification, and their illumination by Your Spirit. Amen.

Listen to a broadcast/podcast about St. Symeon entitled “That your Joy May Be Full…” at http://www.myocn.net/index.php/CRTL/That-Your-Joy-May-Be-Full.html

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