Ok, Brother Bean (no relation to Brother Bear) has called me out which requres me to respond with a fluid flow of thought. How is it that back on Mar. 24 I was singing the praises of contentment, peace and happiness, and that the past couple days my blog fodder has been of darkness and pain and gloom??? Short answer = borderline bi-polar. If you understand the mindset of a Philadelphian, in particular a Philadelphia sports fan, you may understand where I'm coming from. When things are going well (as they are right now for the Flyers), its the best sports city in America. Passion unbridled. When things aren't going well, they put nets under the bridges to catch the yahoos jumping off after another loss by the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. They are also the only fans who in their gloom who have been documented to cheer wildly at the scene of an opposing receivers neck injury (i.e. Michael Irvin) and to heckle and boo Santa Claus when he made an appearance at mid-field. Think about that, we booed Santa Claus, that's sick! That's borderline bi-polar.
Theological answer is something we discussed at Liberty House Church last night in the introduction to Philippians. Paul uses the phrase "rejoice in the Lord" 16 times in Philippians even though he is writing from a cold, dark, wet and lonely prison cell. How is it possible to have joy in that circumstance? I believe there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is contingent on external circumstances, the things that happen to us. Joy is rooted in the promises of God and Kingdom that never change. So, we can have joy in all circumstances, whether they make us happy or not. So even though this week has been rough for me and rather depressing because of circumstances, I still have enormous joy in being God's beloved and living in a community of Christ followers (i just didn't have the perspective to blog about it). On March 24, I was reporting that my constant joy and my happy circumstances were matching up, it was a win/win. Joy is stable, doesn't go away, is manifested in a deep sense of peace, belonging and stability. Happiness sometimes in this life joins the party when circumstances are positive.
Like sometimes the Eagles go to the Super Bowl (1980), sometimes the Phillies win the world series (1980), sometimes the Sixers win the NBA championship (1983) and sometimes the Flyers win the Stanley Cup (1974, 1975 2004??????????). In the meantime, we scream profanities at jolly old men who hand out toys to needy children. Bah Humbug.