Welcome - The Joy Project
Join the Mt. Tam Church Summer Joy Project!
3 Ways to Participate:
ONLINE via our website and facebook page, beginning July 19th
IN WORSHIP: 9:30am, beginning July 23rd
IN STUDY: Tuesdays, 10:30am, beginning July 25th
My beloved Mt. Tam Church and Community,
What joy I felt when I found The Book of Joy, a recording of a week together by two spiritual giants of our times, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu! In 2015, to celebrate the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday (and Archbishop Tutu's 85th), they spent a week together in fellowship and conversation, focusing on the question, "How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?" The excitement I found as I read this book inspired me to create The Mt. Tam Church Summer Joy Project-an 8 week celebration designed to bring more deep joy into our lives. I hope you join in!
You may wish to purchase the book and read it in preparation for The Joy Project. Or relax and enjoy what you find here. You might want to keep a journal or just learn and reflect quietly. Each week, we'll e-mail a devotion and post it to our Facebook page (also available on the church website at mtumc.org). Please add your comments, discoveries and reflections to the comment section on Facebook so we can share and grow with one another.
There are so many ways to participate-you might want to join the Tuesday "Engaging Faith" group at 10:30 am, which will focus on The Joy Project beginning July 25th and certainly, join the summer worship services (9:30 am) beginning July 23, where scripture, message and music will center on joy! And even when you are traveling or cannot get to Sunday morning worship, you can connect online. Invite a friend to join in; enter The Joy Project as a family and make it part of your dinner conversation.
The Summer Joy Project allows all of us to be connected throughout the summer, no matter where we are! And we are building community while building more joy into our own lives. I look forward to The Joy Project journey together. May it be a blessing and joy for you!
WEEK 1, JULY 19TH
WELCOME TO JOY: FOUNDATIONS AND BEGINNINGS
"Rejoice in the Lord always!" Philippians 4:4
FOR YOUR REFLECTION: Understanding the difference between happiness and joy is the foundation of The Joy Project. Here is how I think of it: happiness is an experience of the present, rooted in things outside of ourselves. The word "happiness" is rooted in the same Latin base as "happen" and "happenstance." Thus, happiness is situational, external and mostly out of our control.
Joy is different-joy is an internal state, a way of being that is not dependent on what is taking place outside of ourselves. It is both a spiritual gift of our very nature and a state that can be cultivated as a skill. (Book of Joy, page 45) In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), Jesus shares a series of "blessings." The Greek word used in the Bible for "blessed" can be literally translated as: "the joy of being...." Can one really be joyful if poor, hungry or in mourning? Yes! For joy is that inner way of being that knows that God is love and no matter what the external circumstances, God is with us and walks through life, sometimes by our side, sometimes carrying us. In the old hymn, we sing, "How firm a foundation!" Joy is that firm foundation of God's presence and grace in our spirits. The Joy Project is an opportunity to find, nurture and deepen your own joy.
FROM THE BOOK OF JOY: "Joy is different from happiness. When I use the word happiness, in a sense, I mean satisfaction." (page 35, the Dalai Lama speaking)
QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORING JOY: What makes you the most happy? What feeds your deepest joy?
ACTION STEPS: When you find yourself in a difficult or trying situation, imagine God present with you, holding you, walking with you. Allow God to strengthen your spirit, right then and there. You may want to take a few deep breaths, breathing in God's love and breathing out what is difficult. You may want to place your hands on your heart, envision God surrounding you with comfort and peace or listen for words of comfort. Envision yourself not alone, but having God with you.
Add your thoughts, reflections and comments on Facebook. Click on the facebook button at the bottom of the screen, left-hand side.