"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”

Karl Barth, 20th-century theologian

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God has gone up with a joyous shout— the Lord with the blast of the ram’s horn. Sing praises to God! Sing praises! Sing praises to our king! Sing praises because God is king of the whole world! Sing praises with a song of instruction!

God is king over the nations. God sits on his holy throne. The leaders of all people are gathered with the people of Abraham’s God because the earth’s guardians belong to God; God is exalted beyond all.

Psalm 47:5-9

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It’s no secret that Psalm 47 is a psalm of celebration. Today’s section alone commands the people to “sing praises” five times!

One devotion earlier this week challenged us to take up joy as a spiritual practice. What have you noticed nearly a week later?

If it’s been difficult, you’re not alone. Researcher Brené Brown claims that joy is “the most terrifying, difficult emotion we experience.” That may sound bizarre, but have you ever had a moment when you realized things were going really well, and you felt a twinge of fear? As in, “I’d better brace myself; this kind of thing can’t last!”

Brené Brown calls joy “terrifying” because when we start to experience joy, we often become afraid that we might lose whatever is bringing us joy. We want to protect ourselves from potential sadness by not letting ourselves get too excited.

But today’s psalm rejects that kind of safety, calling on us to celebrate wildly, to lean into joy, to give thanks.

Caitlin Harper

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O God of the celebration,
You are the author of everything
That delights me.
Give me the courage
To lean into joy.
In a world that tells me
To protect myself, not to expect too much, not to get my hopes up,
Help me celebrate wildly
The mountain of gifts
You heap upon me
Each day.

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Knowing that the God who has authority over the whole universe made you and loves you, how will you celebrate this week?

Caitlin Harper

Caitlin Harper is a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She has just been approved as a provisional elder in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. She currently lives in southeastern Pennsylvania on a small-scale organic farm.

Attitude of Christ

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