The prismed world of joy

By Dave Henning / October 19, 2022

“When we reach beyond pleasure, we discover the prismed world of joy.  It’s a forgetful world, one where the worry of ‘self’ falls away, replaced by the beauty of presence. . . .  If the song of joy proclaims life and draws my attention beyond myself, then is it any wonder the things that promise to satisfy us in this world ring with vacancy?”- Timothy D. Willard

Timothy Willard concludes Chapter 14 of The Beauty Chasers with the second aspect of joy.  That joy reflects the everlasting nature of beauty.  However, joy lasts more like waves than like a feeling that never subsides.

Above all, we crave the waves of joy in our lives.  Thus, Timothy compares joy to God’s hand reaching for us in and through the world.  And God’s reaching hand seeks to move us in our deepest parts.  Hence, German theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) once described God’s glory as His “overflowing self-communicating joy.”

As a result, God reaches through the beautiful moment, vision, and event to pull us toward Him.  Furthermore, the light of God’s countenance resides in us through the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we need to radiate God’s light and life.  We must testify to Christ’s saving power and glory in this world.

In conclusion, Timothy tells us that J. R. R. Tolkien once created a new word.  That word relates to Tolkien’s storytelling as well to all stories in the fairy tale genre.  Tolkien coined the word eucatastrophe.  In simple terms, it means the opposite of catastrophe.  Instead of a downward turn in the story, the term refers to an upward turn – the happy ending.

Finally, without the weight of expectation, joy flourishes greatly.  In such moments, we stand spellbound – a eucatastrophe.  And, Tim adds:

“God’s creative energy in the world . . . actively pulls our hearts and minds. . . .  Joy, like the waves, crashes into us, then subsides.  But we know it’s still out there, gathering velocity, foaming toward us again like a freight train of wonder.”

Today’s question: What most helps you reach beyond pleasure to discover the prismed world of joy?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Make holiness formulaic?”

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Dave Henning

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