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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Be Joyful in the Lord

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  November 1, 2019 --

O BE joyful in the LORD, all ye lands: serve the LORD with glad- ness, and come before his presence with a song.  (Psalm 100)

One of the best pieces of advice found both in the Bible and in various secular sources is to be joyful. In our Grange ritual we are told that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” In the Book of Psalms we find not only the quote which starts this column but also: Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (Psalm47). Paul, in the Letter to the Philippians, says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

One of the more difficult things to learn is that it is important to be joyful even when things go wrong. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, quoted above was written while Paul was in prison, awaiting his eventual death sentence. Paul goes on to say: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which  transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This sentiment of being joyful even in adversity is found in the words of the Old Testament prophet Habbakkuk: “Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

Consider that, even when every- thing seems to be going wrong, what good does it do you to be sad? I am not such an optimist that I expect everything to go right; rather I am more of a cheerful pessimist, in that I rather expect things to go wrong, and when they do not go wrong I am so cheerful that I rejoice, and when they do go wrong I can be cheerful that they are not worse, and can then also rejoice.

So, rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say rejoice.



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