Week 37 Sunday

A Complete Joy

Today’s scripture selection: John 16-18

Key Verse: John 16:24

“Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be made complete.”

Sometimes, sadly, we can trivialize such profound things.

We take simple, straightforward, powerful, profound statements of Christ and – before you know it – we have minimized them into something far from powerful or profound.

The verse above is an example of this.

Jesus is talking with his disciples about what is possible with God; what is just over the horizon – beyond his death on the cross; beyond the coming of the Holy Spirit.  It seems he is almost chiding them:

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive….”

But I don’t think his purpose is to chide or belittle.

He wants these friends; these disciples; these whom he is about to
send out in his name – he wants them to step out in pure, unstoppable faith.

And, armed with such faith, he wants to reassure them that so much is possible – not the least of which is their “complete joy.”

How much more wonderful and peaceful our faith walk would be if we would just remember this.  If we could just more often peer past the immediate darkness that obscures our temporary vision – and see all that God’s great providential love and purpose has in mind for us.  And how much more we might experience if we didn’t minimize the idea of “answered prayer” as mere material blessing.

But, too often, we just don’t have that kind of spiritual vision.

Maybe that is at least one reason it was so essential that the Holy Spirit – the Advocate – the Comforter – come in Jesus’ place, so that our eyes – our spiritual eyes – could be opened fully.

And what do we see when we have them wide open?

Joy – pure, unbounded, complete – joy.

Prayer: Holy God, Holy Spirit, open my eyes that I may see.  Open my heart that I may feel the joy.  AMEN.




By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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