Thursday, May 26, 2011

Did you find joy? Did you bring joy?

I spent the better part of last week (Tuesday morning through Monday night) accompanying the Clinton High School Science Olympiad team to the Science Olympiad Nationals. I am so grateful to Mary Ann for filling in for me while I was away (your thank-you gift is coming, I promise). This year I coached Sounds of Music (an event that did not compete at the state level in South Carolina). In a few short weeks we had to design and build two musical instruments to compete in an event that most teams had been working on all year. My team placed a respectable 31st out of 60 teams.

It was a long trip: two days to get there and two days to get back. Video systems on tour buses are both a blessing and a curse. They do bring some distraction that can keep kids from getting on each other’s’ nerves quite so easily, but this can come at the expense of having to endure some pretty awful examples of cinema art. Just because a teenage girl likes it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good movie. On the other hand, the Science Olympiad trips have enabled me to see (and enjoy) some movies that I have not seen before. One such movie on this trip was THE BUCKET LIST.

Aside from some coarse language (it’s a Jack Nicholson movie … go figure), the story is really quite good; heart-warming without excessive glurge. One of the stand-out scenes of the movie takes place atop a pyramid in Egypt. Citing what he said was the ancient Egyptian view of heaven, Carter (Morgan Freeman) forces Edward (Nicholson) to confront two important questions: Did you find joy in your life? Did you bring joy to the lives of others? While I firmly believe that heaven is ours based on a living, active, transformative faith in Jesus Christ, those two questions are important.

As I watched that scene, I was reminded of what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Church at Philippi (Pp. 2:1-4. NIV):
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
The interesting thing (and I didn’t come up with this on my own) is that when you’re in a fellowship in which everyone is looking out for the interests of everyone else, you never have to worry about your own. A place like that would have to be overflowing with joy.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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