A good question to ask ourselves in the cold of January is just what will we take from Christmas into the New Year. Maybe argyle socks, penny loafers, a cherished memory or an unspeakable loss. Whatever it is that we fold in for the long journey, we will be different because of it.
Throughout December, I was mesmerized by certain words found in Joy To The World; “repeat the sounding joy.” I have thought of the beauty wrapped into “sounding joy” and often wondered what it could be. Then I heard it one morning at First Christian Church in Farmville and almost like an epiphany, I knew. After the serving of Holy Communion, it was the sound of Communion cups being placed in pew holders. Similar, indeed, to the sound of pew benches being turned back after the serving of the same Sacrament. Both sounds indicating that our singular and corporate seeking of God’s forgiveness is fully present and fully heard.
For Believers, it is a majestic, full bodied, orchestration of sound. The perfect balance; the fulcrum of falling short and being the beneficiary of unconditional love. In a long week, month or year, it is a sound to be coveted. It is the sound of hope.
God’s will is that the discordance of our sin doesn’t have to be the end of our song or life story. Forgiveness, strength and renewal are at God’s Table, there for the asking, freely given and freely received.
The sounding joy given to us by a Risen Savior is grace. It is in the wiping clean of our tarnished slates, in forgiving ourselves and others, and experiencing the dignity of a new beginning. It is best heard when we rest our weary souls in the hollow of God’s hand, listen and repeat, repeat the sounding joy.