Unbridled joy is such a rarity that it is often viewed with suspicion and offense, but it is, in reality, a sacrament of the highest order in that it is an expression of pure grace. The etymology of the word, “scandal” comes from the Greek, “skandalon” meaning “trap, stumbling block, or offense.” On the other hand, the concept of a sacrament is based upon the idea of “consecration.”
Some years ago, we were looking for a descriptive name for our church. We decided to write our mission statement first and let the “nickname” emerge from that. It arose among us, without controversy or ambiguity. God was calling us to be a fellowship of joy.
The Greek words for giving, grace, gratitude, and joy are all rooted in a word that sounds like CHAR. Joy is the natural emotional response to grace. Wherever grace is, there is unbridled joy. Gratitude is the rightful expression of grace-received and generosity is the undeniable attitude of the heart, touched by grace, toward other people. II Corinthians 9:7 says that “God loves an hilarious giver.”
All of God’s ways are gracious and the joyous response of His people is a eucharistic sacrifice through which grace is given and received. It is so blatant that many are scandalized by it, but whenever it is seen, it reveals the authenticity of the gospel in its purest form.
To be God’s people is to be filled to overflowing with gregarious joy.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24 KJV)