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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Commandment Number 13, Conclusion:
Radical Joy

Our church drama team did a full length presentation (90 minutes?) earlier this year—"Baggage Claim"—set at a quirky bed & breakfast. I played giddy Clarisse, the hostess whose unearthy and radical joy causes her to dance her way across the lobby whenever she moves. Clarisse seems hilariously absurd until the final scene, when the allegory turns deadly serious and Clarisse is the angelic messenger of judgment.

I'm not accustomed to dancing for an extended period of time. During Act I, Scene Two, I had only a few lines, and spent most of the scene dancing in the background. The scene itself was perhaps 15–20 minutes, plenty of time to work up a respectable heart rate. But rehearsals could extend that time to a couple of hours, long enough to grow downright tired.

I'd never before considered seeing a day when I might rather sit down than dance. But the radical joy of the Lord births a truly unearthy strength.

Can you imagine what would happen if, during a live stage production, an actor or actress decided they'd had enough and dropped out? While such a character would rest, there'd be no joy in the performance. Every other disrupted actor would fumble to cover for the missing member. Critical lines could not be delivered effectively by the wrong person, and the story would be seriously impaired. The poor audience would be hopelessly confused, and leave the auditorium disappointed.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus …
~ Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Last week, someone close to me and dearly loved attempted suicide. Our unrelenting enemy the devil constantly bombards us with lies, Christians and non-Christians alike. If a person gives him an ear, he ruthlessly attempts to steal, kill and destroy whatever he can.

I understand how a person can become distracted enough from Jesus, or neglect spiritual armor, and begin to believe those lies.

This problem is never going to change.
There's no other way out of the pain.
It's okay to bow out a little early.

Yet there really is a time to dance, and a time to mourn; a time of war, and a time of peace. The script of our lives is not one we can skip out on. Yes, others would fumble and move on, but not without impairment. Our story incomplete, we'd never experience fullness of joy. And that great cloud of witnesses would be most disappointed.

… looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
~ Hebrews 12:2 (emphasis mine)

Among the enemy's most damaging and prevalent lies are these:

You're not loved enough.
Your love doesn't make any difference.

Love matters. Love is deadly serious.

While faith and hope will find their fulfillment and cease, love never ends.

As mentioned in Part Three ("Just One Thing"), we are commanded to love as Jesus loves us. Our Lord Jesus introduces His command while speaking of the Father's glory. Then among His final words before dying, He gives us another reason:

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
~ John 15:11-12 (NKJV)

If we are to find full joy—radical joy—we must love as Jesus loves us.

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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Praying with you, and for you I love you.

    1. Thank you for praying, Denise. I spoke with that loved one day before yesterday. God is at work, but I know the enemy will not easily give up the fight.

  2. Thank you Anne. When we fill our hearts with God's love and light, there is little room for the enemy. But, that is advice easier said than done. We are all God's gift to each other. You are in my prayers.

    1. Thank you for prayers, Rusty. How true that we are gifts from God to one another! You have certainly been a treasured gift.

  3. Radical joy doesn't always have to involve dancng across the stage, or having a face wide grin like the Joker. Sometimes it can be felt and experienced in simply how we live our lives. Great post Anne!

    1. I agree, Ed, that radical joy needn't be flamboyant. Some of the most precious people I've ever met are the ones who have a quiet peace and radiant smile who simply ooze joy without ever trying.


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