Scripture Focus: 1 John 1.4
We write this to make our joy complete.

Reflection: Complete Our Joy — Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

John, the beloved disciple, was not writing in a time of peace, happiness, or good circumstances for the church, yet his writing rings with riotous joy. This joy permeated the church despite the pervasiveness of persecution and the pressures of the surrounding culture.

The church was threatened by attacks of all kinds. There were political threats from Rome. There were theological threats from multiple directions, including Greco/Roman philosophers denying the facts of Jesus’ physical incarnation, and pressure from Jews who wanted to keep enforcing Jewish customs. 

There were also threats from industry and business. Christianity’s ideological assault on idolatry, impacted a booming business both in material goods and travel. This caused riots by those whose livelihoods (and political positions) depended on idolatry. 

In some ways, our age is not that different. Like the ten plagues of Egypt were direct attacks on the pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses, every Christ-like principle attacks one of our cultures’ idols. Greed, selfishness, lust, materialism, radical individualism, and power, just to name a few, each have commercial industries that monetize them.

But despite the pressures and oppression surrounding the church today and despite the uncertainty and danger of threats both viral and political, we can join in praying a joy-filled poem based on the opening passage of John’s first epistle. The purpose of this writing, John states, is to complete our joy. May it do so.

Prayer to Complete Joy
From the beginning, Lord, you were
Maker of Earth
Painter of Sky
Speaker of Word

In humility, Lord, you stayed
To be touched
To be seen
To be heard

Suffering, Lord, you pursued
To bleed
To die
To rise

Joyful, Lord, we proclaim
Your words
Your death
Your life

In fellowship, Lord, make us
More holy
More loving
More true

We pray this to make our joy complete
In suffering
In struggle
In you

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Search for the Lord and his strength; continually seek his face. — Psalm 105:4

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 23 (Listen – 2:50)
1 John 1 (Listen – 1:28)

This Weekend’s Readings
Isaiah 24 (Listen – 3:11), 1 John 2 (Listen – 4:04)
Isaiah 25 (Listen – 1:59), 1 John 3 (Listen – 3:21)

Read more about Joy in The Way of the Cross
Don’t be surprised if you are set at nought. It is part of the way of the Cross.

Read more about The Prayer From the Cross
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.