BigRead13 Day 40 : Happiness

Day 40’s post from the BigRead13 can be found here.

2 Corinthians 5:5 today:

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

And with it a thought from Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. God can make us happy, but only through God – because there is no place without him that he can make us happy without him.

Take up thy cross?Perhaps this is a slightly funny thing to be thinking about this morning, when as Twitter reminds us, we start to think that #everythingchanges.  Whilst Lent has not been a full-on barrel of laughs*, there was a darkening a week ago when we started to turn our minds to the Passion of Christ. Today there was joy and happiness again, as we remember the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Yes, that is my son being happy about the donkey on the right.

But then things got dark again.  Instead of a Gospel reading and sermon, we had the dramatised Passion of Christ. We recalled Peter’s denial of God. We recalled Pilate washing his hands. We recalled the Via Dolorosa. And then those agonising three hours on the tree.  And it wasn’t just passive. The congregation joined in as the crowd, shouting “Crucify” – enough to send shivers down your spine. Gets me every time.

And it’s only going to get worse. There’s a whole week ahead. A week of darkness, sadness, suffering.  So why happiness now? Perhaps there was a clue in what we did after the Passion. We moved on, as ever, to share peace with each other. To pray.  And then to remember what it’s all about. To remember that the victory of the cross is followed by a victorious resurrection. To remember that without Good Friday, there couldn’t be Easter Sunday.  But without Easter Sunday, nobody would remember Good Friday. It’d just have been another crucifixion by an occupying power.  Instead, it is the selfless act by which we are reconciled to God and God to us. It is the darnkess before the light, but the light that we are luckily enough to know is coming.  And sharing a meal with friends to remember this – what could be happier?

* technical theological term.

Ride on, ride on in majesty