“I have a scripture verse for you,” Jon says, and tells me a story of The Children of Israel who, during the Feast of Trumpets, are reading the law together. The people are convicted by what they hear and began weeping, but Ezra the priest says to them, “This day is holy to the Lord. Do not mourn or weep, but go and feast, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This Sunday is the Feast of Trumpets. On this day, God’s people, convicted by their sin, are told: “Do not grieve, do not mourn, do not cry. Accept the joy of the Lord.”
I’m unsure of how to find joy in midst of my wretched, ugly sinfulness. I’m unsure of how to find joy in the midst of the destruction that lays all around me, wrought by my own hands. I feel that to be joyful would be to deny the hurt I’ve caused.
But maybe it’s not. Maybe… to be joyful… is to accept grace. To fully stand in a grace I know I haven’t earned, to allow it to wash over me and cleanse me. To free me when I know how very much I deserve to be in chains. Maybe joy doesn’t negate repentance. Maybe joy is the fullest, deepest, truest part of repentance. Maybe joy doesn’t mean I don’t care. Maybe it means I finally, fully accept the fact that God cares.