Beauty for Ashes

Sober Joy. I like the steadiness that the term portrays. Someone who is described as having sober joy seems to be the type of person who is not phased by the shifting waters or the changing weather. A man who is described this way is a man I respect. 

Beauty for Ashes

Sober joy requires a firm and unchanging centre.

The source of joy cannot be external, for the external is always changing. The source must be steady, never changing, timeless and completely dependable. There is only one: the Name of God.

I say the Name of God because in ancient history a name represents the entirety of a person. God’s name represents him completely. His name is completely trustworthy and is an unchanging and eternal truth. God’s name is a source of complete joy.

Sober joy requires humility.

It is not enough to be constantly happy and cheerful. The world is full of pain and evil. Sober joy is a mixture of an unchanging inner core and a humble awareness of reality. Eyes wide open to both eternal hope and temporary despair.

A person who embodies sober joy is a helpful and dependable person. A sense of comfort and trust can be easily found in the presence of someone who displays sober joy. There is a comforting smile and easing contentment alongside eyes of compassion and a listening heart. 

I need not chase sober joy but enter into it.

For, it already exists in utter completeness within me. The presence of the Spirit of Jesus is waiting for the room within my spirit to plant seeds of humility and joy. The weeds of despair, distrust, pride, and lust currently occupy the garden space in which the seeds of humility and joy need to be planted.

And so, I commit this day to the process of pruning. With these words, I proclaim permission for God the Father to remove that which is not bearing fruit and to prepare the soil for planting. Once the soil is ready, I ask the Spirit of Jesus to plant the seeds and nurture the growth of joy and humility. May these plants grow with strength in their roots, with firm and steady stalks and branches, so they will be able to bear the weight that will come with being a person of sober joy. 

I am committed to the discipline and nurture that will come with this process so that I will be a more complete person, ready to bear fruit. I commit to keep the eyes of my heart focused on Jesus, and to not look around me with envy, lusting after that which does not and should not belong to me.

Jesus, help me.

Take my burden, and replace it with your yoke, which is easy and light. Keep my feet on the path of righteousness. I have accepted your invitation to the banquet, and I am on my way. Clothe me in robes of righteousness, and prepare me for the feast that is to come. And, along the way, show me who to invite, who will be worthy companions on this journey. Give me sight that will see with compassion who is longing to join us at the banquet.

This is my Lenten prayer. Thank you, Jesus, for bearing the ultimate burden on my behalf, and for being the only worthy source of eternal joy. 

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