Joyful in Sorrow
While chatting she asked the question, ‘Can you be both sad and grateful at the same time?’.It’s been percolating on the back burner ever since. Can I be sad and grateful together? Can I be joyful in sorrow? They seem diametrically opposed, but are they?
Once upon a time I would have said a definite ‘no’, but life happens and we learn lots. I wonder now if there is a case to be sad and grateful at the same time. Could I not be sad that something had/was/ was going to happen, but grateful at the same time for the future outcome that would come through this? You would have to have practiced this art of being grateful so that it was a part of your brain functioning. You would have to be able to see beyond your sad emotion. Not all of us are good at not letting our emotions be all encompassing. It’s an art, for sure, especially for the more feeling driven ones amongst us (my peeps). But is it a possibility?
Our Friday Sabbath meal saw me pouring the grape juice into the crystal goblets when, BAM! I was overcome with emotion. (Just to say, this is NOT my norm where communion is concerned, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) Such sadness welled up at seeing the deep red juice flowing freely. Quite different to being handed a little cup already poured or taking a sip from a common cup. This was flowing. This was large. Life-like. How much blood would he really have lost? Not just a little sip worth. How much sadness and grief did He have that his blood separated into blood and water? How much pleading with Father the night before to let this cup pass from me? And yet…
“For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2)
Had He come to the Garden of Gethsemane with thanksgiving first? The Jewish faith is full of thanksgiving and blessings. He knew the psalms well, that talked about coming into His presence with thanksgiving and a joyful noise. Had He learnt this art of gratefulness well enough to enable Himself to see past the imminent pain of death to His mortal body. I wonder how He prayed? I wonder if there’s a time when, even when the sorrow is all encompassing and overwhelming, that God can see that we are looking to Him as our hope.
But wasn’t that Jesus cry ? “Eli. Eli. Lama Sabachthani?” “My God. My God, why have you forsaken me?” Was His hope gone? And yet the book of Hebrews tell us there must have been some joy that was set before Him. ‘For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross”.
Interestingly, the word Eucharist, which many parts of Christendom use for the partaking of bread and wine, comes from the Greek word ‘Eucharisteo’ meaning ‘thanksgiving’. That’s an interesting twist with our joy coming from His sorrow. Other names such as ‘The Lord’s Supper’, “Breaking of Bread’, or ‘Table of the Lord’ are easy to understand. The name ‘Communion’ comes from the word ‘communis’ or ‘common’. Common to all of us who are a part of the body of Christ. Those who share in accepting the redemption of our sins through Jesus’ sacrifice. My sins make me sorrowful. They make a wedge between me and Father. So, once again “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross”. Was my joy part of what He saw?.
I do not pretend to know the answer to these ponderings. But in answer to her question, it would appear that yes, you can have joy and sorrow at the same time. You can be grateful in your sadness. You can train yourself to have a grateful outlook. You can move ahead in joy despite the grief assailing.
I see more lessons still to be learnt.