A Witness to God’s Goodness

Deborah Beach Giordano
© August 13, 2018

Psalm 34 ~ interpreted by Deborah

In all ways, at all times, I delight in the Lord our God; I will never cease singing God’s praises for as long as I live, sharing His glorious love and mercy with all the world.

All God’s people say: Amen!

Unsuspecting, unaware, I was found by my sweet Savior, never knowing that I had been lost. My whole world was suddenly illuminated; divine radiance filled my heart and my soul. Like Moses on the mountaintop, God’s glory shone in my face — and everyone could see. 

Rejoice in the Lord!

God heard my plea, as deep and dark and silent as the grave; and saved me from all of my troubled thoughts and fears. When those who suffer and despair hear what I have to say, they will rejoice, and we will give thanks to the Beloved together.

Their weeping will be turned into laughter!

The holy angels encircle those who love the Lord; they are lifted up, as if on eagle’s wings, their hearts light and joyful.

Fear is unknown to them.

O taste and see that the Lord is good! His Word is sweet as honey, even much fine honey; nourishing to His people, sustaining and strengthening them. 

They shall have all that they need.

Come, little ones, listen to me; I will tell you of the Lord’s abundant love and compassion that extends to the ends of the earth, to the end of all time, to all people, without exception.

Come, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and you will find rest.

Delight in the Lord and honor Him with your lips and with your lives. Shun evil and do good; speak kindly and pursue peace.

His yoke is easy, His burden is light.

God watches over the vulnerable and the despairing, the grieving and the brokenhearted, sensitive to their cries; rescuing those presumed to be lost, a good Shepherd leading the flocks safely home.

None shall be lost!

The faithful may have many troubles, but their spirits shall not be broken, their hope will not be crushed; the Lord will hold them close.

They shall be delivered.

Goodness and mercy shall be my life and my legacy, for I walk in the Way of the Lord my God.

And I shall live in the House of the Lord forever! 

In the Beginning

“What is the cause of their hope?” 

In the early days of our faith, the Christians carried on, regardless. In the face of punishment and persecutions; despite losses of family, friends, property, and livelihood, the small communities were known for their courageous optimism. 

Others found these Christ-followers a mystery: there they were, in the midst of the worst of times: shunned and shamed and mocked, and yet, somehow, their numbers only increased. Why would this be so? 

Little documentation survives from the Christians of that era, and the material that does exist has been heavily redacted and revised, so we cannot say with certainty what the peoples’ daily lives were like. What we do know is that they continued in their faith, and that others slowly, steadily joined with them. Something happened. Something powerful.

I believe — and have experience to prove it — that it was our forebears’ joy that contributed to the growth of the early Christian communities. It is an aspect of our faith we are long-overdue to reclaim. 

I’ve seen it in person, in living persons: a calm, confidence devoid of anxiety or fear. It is a manifestation of a sort of Cosmic Giggle: barely-suppressed, bubbling delight that flows from purest love and absolute trust in God’s goodness. These “true believers” (if you will) live in the certainty that, as Julian of Norwich famously said, “All is well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” They are radiant with joy, their hearts are at peace; when we are with them we relax, we smile, we laugh. They spread a kind of holy, healthy contagion to all they meet.

A Time of Great Need

Now, more than ever, we need to listen to the testimony of the faithful: we need to hear The Good News and believe the Good News and live in the Light of the Good News. We need to regain our calm, confident joy — lest we perish from soul-sickness.

We are surrounded by predictions of death and despair, incessant enticements to hopelessness, to hubris — tempted to scorn and hate those with whom we disagree, to consider others our inferiors and ourselves “noble warriors,” rebuffing attacks, responding to alarms, constantly on edge, anxious, irritable, stressed, and always sick at heart. Something is wrong, deeply wrong, and we know it; we feel it in the depths of our souls. And it is making us and our world sick.

For the battles to cease, we must stop fighting. Our anger and outrage fuel the fires of hell on earth. There can be no healing amidst hatred, there can be peace if the only acceptable option is “winner take all” and the loser must be ground into dust. 

If there is no compassion, no concern for one another, then Nietzsche was right: God is dead, and we killed Him. In our hearts it is as if He is not there at all.

Finding Joy, Being Joy

We know the Good News — in having heard it, known it, and, for a blessed few, experienced it, face-to-face. It is up to us to live as if the Truth is True. 

We can be agents of Christ’s peace in our world, bringing comfort and encouragement to the sick and the sad; not insisting on our own way, but committed to the Way of the Lord, trusting in God’s goodness, revealers of God’s love and compassion. Utterly unafraid, calm and confident, we will find ourselves occasionally overcome with a case of the Cosmic Giggles.

As we live, so shall we become: light-bearers of gentle joy and abundant delight. We shall become what we have been called to be: “true children of our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:45).

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah 

Suggested Spiritual Exercise

Reflect and rejoice in those who have shown you — in the myriad ways we can know — that God is good and gracious and so delightful that you just want to giggle. And go forth and do likewise to all the world.

Dedicated to the memory of Michelle Aaron Amirault, witness to God’s great love.
June 18, 1949 – July 31, 2018 ~ Love wins

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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