A Reason to Rejoice

This is the Sunday of Joy in our Advent journey. As I read the readings for this Sunday, I am struck by how far from joy so many people in our world are. We allow the bad behavior of others, the wars and unrest, and the hatred of others to rob us of our joy. Yet, in Isaiah, you hear the joy bubbling from within the great prophet as he proclaims that God has anointed him to preach the Good News to all people.

As clergy, many people think we live a very charmed and idealistic life. People tell me that I cannot possibly understand what they are going thru and so it is easy for me to have joy. That could not be further from the truth. I struggle everyday with depression and anxiety. The abuse I have suffered in the past, the loss of people I called friends and family, even the loss of my own biological family because they could not accept who I am, leaves me in state of pain and depression. Yet, I get up every day and put on my collar and continue to preach the Good News to everyone I meet.

The Good News should bring us joy. We should rejoice at the words of the Prophet Isaiah,

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
  because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
  to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
  and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the Lord
  and a day of vindication by our God.
I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
  in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
  and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
  like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
  and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord God make justice and praise
  spring up before all the nations.”

(Isaiah 61:1–2a, 10–11. NRSV.)

We are free from our captivity! We are healed from our wounds! And we are vindicated by God! This is a cause for rejoicing this Advent and Christmas Season.

Join me in rejoicing at the Good News this Season!

Pax et Bonum,

Bishop Greer