Summary: Sadness and mourning come before joy. What is God’s joy? What is our true joy?

Joy Comes in the Morning – February 13, 2011 – CATM Anniversary

Well…Happy Anniversary to Church at the Mission! Hard to believe it’s been 13 years since we formally launched as CATM. Actually we didn’t have a name when we started.

Two different members of the mission’s Development department called Kerry and I separately to ask for a name for the church because they needed to put something about it in the mission’s newsletter.

Kerry and I and Michael Krause and Rick Tobias had talked about everything to do with the church when we were developing it on paper, but we hadn’t come up with a name.

So separately and without knowing it Kerry and I told the Development staff member that, “We’ll…we’re, uh, the church at the mission”. And the then the name just kinda stuck.

Of course CATM grew out of two other churches that had started in around 1987 – Cabbagetown Community Church that met here for years. And Church on the Street, a church that was created to serve street youth and others connected to the street. Jan and I were part of that church.

So in one way we’re 13 years old. In another way we’re (count with fingers) 24 years old. In another way, actually, we’re 115 years old. Anyone know why? This year marks the 115th anniversary of Yonge Street Mission. Cool, eh?

So…Thanks be to God for His abiding faithfulness and love for us for 13, 24…115 years.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

This has been a remarkable week in the Middle East. Egypt seemed to be teetering on the brink of civil war or violence that could have had a cascading effect across the country.

Calls for the resignation of the dictator Mubarek combined with diplomatic backroom maneuvering by the US and other countries resulted in Mubarek stepping down as president.

The Toronto Star reported this: “The jubilation that erupted with Hosni Mubarak’s resignation as president Friday lasted well into the night. Egyptians danced and sang their freedom until they were drunk with it. “After three decades of abuse at the hands of Mubarak’s police state, they surprised even themselves by taking back their country. And they were wild with joy.

““Finally, we are free. Finally, we can breathe,” said Mohammed Hanid, 32, literally jumping for joy among the tens of thousands in downtown Tahrir Square, ground zero for 18 days of protests that chased Mubarak from power.”

We rejoice along with the people of Egypt at their new-found freedom, and we should pray for a peaceful transition of power and free elections in that ancient land.

Shackles come off, and there is joy. Freedom becomes a real possibility, and there is joy.

Liberty moves from being in the realm of a dream, an aspiration, to a place of being almost able to taste it...and there is joy because liberty tastes good.

Today I mean for us to spend some time meditating on joy. Are we up for that? And joy, God’s joy and our joy, are truly important aspects of worship. What is our joy? Well, the best way to get to the answer to that question is to look at God’s joy.

Now the joy in Egypt has come after much sadness. Years and years of oppression, no freedom of the press, politically movitated murders, police acting with no accountability. Really terrible grief and sadness for the Egyptian people.

There is always something unwanted, some great sadness that comes before joy, something that makes joy sweeter, something that gives a contrast between the way things were before there was joy and the way thing are now since joy has come.

We know that God is revealed in the Holy Bible as Father, Son and Holy Spirit…that is the very identity of God.

A good answer to the question: “Who is God?” is “God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three in one.” Let’s take a look at the sadness and joy of God.

The Sadness and Joy of the Father

What was the sadness of the Father? After Creation, after saying that all He has created was good, after God’s perfect creation including humanity had come, sin also came. Genesis Chapter 3 recounts how a perfect creation was marred by human sin.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

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