the first Christians “ate their food with glad and
generous hearts” (2:46). Wherever the disciples
went, “there was great joy” (8:8); even amid per-
secution they continued to be “filled with joy”
(13:52). The newly baptized eunuch “went on
his way rejoicing” (8:39), while Paul’s jailer “and
his entire household rejoiced that he had become
a believer in God” (16:34). Why should we not
also enter into this great stream of joy?
6. There are Christians whose lives seem like
Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy
is not expressed the same way at all times in life,
especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy
adapts and changes, but it always endures, even
as a flicker of light born of our personal certain-
ty that, when everything is said and done, we are
infinitely loved. I understand the grief of people
who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly
but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slow-
ly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the
greatest distress: “My soul is bereft of peace; I
have forgotten what happiness is…But this I call
to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast
love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies nev-
er come to an end; they are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness… It is good that one
should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”
3:17, 21-23, 26).
7. Sometimes we are tempted to find excus-
es and complain, acting as if we could only be
happy if a thousand conditions were met. To
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