What is it about joy that is so hard to capture in words? Earlier today I was reading Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline, and blown away by how articulately he was able to express basics truths of Christianity. Until I came to the chapter “On the Third Day He Rose Again.” He started writing about Easter, and how it represented not just the resurrection of Christ but of all creation. It was the vindication of Christ’s sacrifice; without it the crucifixion would have been in vain… but the chapter seemed to lack the conviction of his earlier ones. The language was flat.
I guess that is the difficulty. How can you express something so beautiful, so wonderful? For the past three weeks, I’ve been tinkering on a song. I want it to end triumphantly, joyfully… but it’s kind of flat. Every attempt I have made to twist it around has made it seem cheesy and fake.
The problem is that we can sniff out counterfeit joy a mile away. So we retreat to sarcasm and cynicism (my default) or detachment (my “good” behavior). But those responses focus inward. Martin Luther taught that sin curved man inward toward himself; grace curves a man outward. Joy is the outward expression of indwelling grace.
So bear with me, I’m still learning to be gracious, but joy is already starting to burst out. I’ll post the song tomorrow.