Friday, 3 April 2009


There is a lot of joy and fun in my classroom today. It is the last day of term. No work, just games. And the prospect of the holidays.

So I started thinking about joy. It’s more than happiness – there’s a sense of celebration about the word.

There is a lot in the Old Testament about joy, but my attention was caught by this passage from Deuteronomy 28:47 – 48 ‘Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you.’

This comes near the end of a long chapter, detailing all the blessings God wants to pour out on his people: ‘If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God…The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.’ (verses 1 – 2, 12 – 14)

Notice the ‘if’. Many verses later, there is another ‘if’: ‘if you do NOT obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…’ (verse 15).

So, coming back to joy: we are called to serve the Lord with JOY. We benefit from doing this: not because we are afraid of what will happen if we don’t, but because, paradoxically, being joyful increases our joy.

My week started off quite badly. Not much in the greater scheme of things, but enough to throw me off kilter. I tried very hard not to be too grumpy about it, but to respond positively. Now, looking back, I can see how much I have to be thankful for after just a few days. I’m celebrating the end of term WITH the children (not because I won’t have to teach them for a couple of weeks, honestly). With joy.

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