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Something to read

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

- Psalm 100 (NIV).

Something to think about

We are often told to 'think positive!' But sometimes positive thinking fails to pay attention to the realities of our struggles and challenges. Positivity can mask problems rather than help people to address them.

'Joy' can help us here. Psalm 100 tells us to come before God with joyful songs. That can be hard to do when we are weighed down by grief or feeling the consequences of injustice and inequality. Yet joy is more than mere positive thinking or an outward show of happiness.

The African American theologian Willie James Jennings talks about the possibility that joy can be an act of resistance. By singing with joy we raise our voices against the powers that try to diminish our lives and the lives of others. We proclaim that the gift of gladness has been given to us and we return it, offering it up to God.

Jennings suggests that joy as resistance needs the support of communities. It's not an individual task but a work for us to undertake together. Are you able to start the singing and to invite others in? Can you help those around you reclaim the joy that unjust actions try to strip away? Or perhaps at this moment you need to listen and let the joyful song of others sustain you?

Something to do

Sign up to the Big Pea challenge.

Something to pray

Holy Spirit, fill me with joy.

May I raise up my voice in joyful song.

May the songs of others sustain and nourish me.

May I know that you, O God, are the source of all joy, all life, all love.


Today's contributor is Dr Frances Clemson, Christian Aid's Faith Communications and Just Scripture Specialist.