Joy as Resistance
Several years ago at one of the Spiritual Practice Sessions led by Kris Davis, Pat Lindsey mentioned to me the UCC Stillspeaking Daily Devotional. Many of you remember Pat; she and her husband Andrew Clark were integral members of our church community during their time in Washington before they returned to Canada, their home country.
Following Pat’s suggestion, I checked out the Daily Devotional and subscribed immediately. I now get it delivered via email every morning and read it regularly. Many times the devotionals strike a particular chord with me, and I keep coming back to reread these messages long after they first appear.
One that particularly resonated and has stayed with me in these challenging and troubled times is by one of my favorite writers, Emily C. Heath, a pastor in New Hampshire. Nearly a year ago (August 2, 2018), she wrote about “Joy as Resistance.”
Heath began with a New Testament verse from Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4,7
Then she continued:
Alice Walker once wrote that “Resistance is the secret of joy!” I believe that. I also believe that it’s inversely true as well: Joy can be resistance to the forces that would destroy us.
As a young activist I believed that it was irresponsible to be joyful while injustice flourished in the world. Happiness felt almost sinful while others suffered.
Later in life I learned that it wasn’t my responsibility to fix everything. And I also learned a lot about joy. I learned that though this world will always be imperfect there are often moments of extraordinary beauty and grace that require nothing less than our abundant joy.
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi and told them to “rejoice.” It’s worth noting that he was likely writing his letter from a jail cell. If anyone had reason not to be joyful, it was Paul. And yet, even in the midst of injustice, he found reasons for joy, and evidence of God’s peace.
If that isn’t resistance to the forces of evil in this world, I don’t know what is.
Joy as resistance—now that’s an idea that works for me.
If you aren’t familiar with Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals, check them out at: https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional
Do you have daily devotionals that are particularly meaningful to you? If so, I’d love for you to share them with me.
Peace and Joy,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Cabinet Meeting, 6/9—Lay Leaders will meet in the library after worship for an update on the Capital Campaign. This is an open meeting, and all are welcome. We should be done in plenty of time for the Pride Festival.
DC Pride Festival, 6/9—Come celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and visit our UCC Open and Affirming booth downtown after worship. Questions? Email Ashley: email@example.com
“Summertime” Service for All Ages, 6/16—Join us for a service to kick off the summer season with a (weather permitting) outdoor Coffee Hour!
Poetry Hour, 6/16—Join us from 4-5 pm and bring one or two poems on any theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
“DC: Tales of Two Cities,” 6/26—Our Summer Social Documentary & Discussion Series will begin with the film, What Happened 2 Chocolate City? This acclaimed documentary explores DC’s hyper-gentrification through a retrospective lens, highlighting the effects of the 1968 riots, War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration, and the current economic barriers affecting Black Washingtonians. All three films take place on Wednesday evenings, from 7-9 pm (6/26, 7/24, 8/28). Questions? Email Emily: Parkerec@gmail.com.