Still Seeking . . . Joy


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Featuring Rev. Dr. Sheila Robinson of Calvary partner church Grace Tabernacle Community Church.

Sermon Video

This Week’s Sermon Was Drawn From the Following Scripture

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

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Full Text of Sermon

When we look at Mary’s song here in this Lukan passage, we recognize it as a joyous song…quite in keeping with our theme for today, Joy…
However…
Before Mary reaches this point of joyous singing…
She is introduced earlier in this chapter to a very strange reality…
That reality is that she was about to become pregnant…
Her pregnancy would result in the birth of a son…
And this son will not only be her son, but He will also be the son of God…
And His name is already determined…
She will not experience the anticipation and excitement of selecting a name for her son…
It has already been pre-determined…His name will be Jesus…
Scripture tells us that Mary was perplexed…she was confused…
And understandably so…
Therefore…what we see here is that before Mary could make her way into a joyful frame of mind…
Or even sing a song of her joy…
She first had to come to grips with her uncertainty…
Her confusion…
What was it that brought her from her place of confusion to a place of joy…

Perhaps it was her relationship with her God that settled her spirit…
Perhaps it was her memory of the sacred text, the writings of the prophet Isaiah…
Who said, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV)
Perhaps it was the realization that SHE was indeed that virgin…
Spoken of by the prophet Isaiah…
The scripture doesn’t tell us what it was that brought Mary out of a state of confusion and into a place of joyful singing…
It just tells us that Mary had a change of mood…
I can imagine that I would have a complete change of mind and emotion…
If suddenly I found myself being the person that the scripture has spoken about…
The person that scripture has said would fulfill a promise…
What unimaginable joy that would bring to my being…
Dr. Matthew Johnson stated in one of his lectures at San Francisco Theological Seminary, that there are 7 aspects of our lives that are fundamental to our existence and interwoven in our lived experiences …
They are the responses to our life’s journey… He called this The Tragic…
Among those 7 critical responses is profound joy [1]

So… we see in this morning’s passage how Mary’s response to Gabriel and his message transforms her emotions from uncertainty to Joy…
And so, she begins to sing…
She says in her song, I praise, the Lord (TLB)
She says further, I rejoice, in my God (TLB)
She acknowledges, He took notice of me (TLB)
How wonderful it is for us to know that God takes notice of us!
So as Mary experienced Joy at the knowledge of her place in God…
Let us take a look at what brings us joy…
Etymologically… joy is a “feeling of pleasure and delight;” …a “source of happiness,” …“a feeling of bliss”…

So…with that in mind…
What is it that brings pleasure and delight into our lives?
What is it that puts a smile to your face
What is it that causes your heart to leap for joy
I can’t speak for you but, let me share with you a few of the things that brought and continue to bring joy and happiness to me…
When I gave birth to my children…I was filled with unspeakable pleasure…
When I accomplished goals that I had set for myself…I was filled with joy…
When I reflect on the amazing salvific plan that my God established just for me…
I am filled with joy…
When my heart is overwhelmed, and I am reminded that at my disposal there is peace…
Peace so profound, that it surpasses my ability to comprehend it…
I am overcome with delight…
There is such joy in knowing Jesus…
There’s comforting joy in being in relationship with Him…
And when I remember the scripture that encourages me the joy of the Lord is my strength…Nehemiah 8:10 (NRSV)
I am renewed in my strength…

There is a congregational song that says,

O the joy that came to me
When I knew that I was free
When my Savior found me
Put His arms around me
O the joy that came to me

What is your song of Joy?
We know Mary’s song…
But what is your song of joy?
What is it that brings you joy
What is it that brings comforting joy into your life…
What is it that has you singing songs of joy?
Let’s take a moment of reflective silence to bring to our attention…
the things that bring us joy…

[1] Dr. Matthew Johnson, lecture, San Francisco Theological Seminary, 9 June, 2011.

 

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