Sparking Joy

It’s the end of Epiphany! Soon we will stop marching in the light of God and we’ll start our walk to the cross. And after all of this talk about light since the beginning of Advent, we get the final burst of light of the Transfiguration. How can we then, in our daily living, carry the light of the transfiguration down from the mountain, out of the church, and into the world? How can we remain transfigured?

I’m an inconsistent journaler. But I’ve been journaling off-and-on for the past 6-7 years. I’ve always used it as a way of working through questions I’ve had in a very direct way. It forces me to slow down… think… and write. It’s one of the few times I actually remember to slow down. I always feel a little bit drained, but clearer when I finish writing.

I received a suggestion a few weeks ago from Lily to start my journal entries in a new way: A place of positivity. Start with (at least) three things that day that (to quote the relevant Marie Kondo) spark joy. I’ve noticed a change in how I feel when I’m done writing. I feel clear-headed still, but I also feel energized instead of drained. Look at all the good things that happened today! It’s a great feeling. I still write about some concerns I have and how I can better navigate or approach situations. But to begin by recognizing the joys in my day is a great start to remind myself how surrounded I am by joy. Those parmesan truffle fries really were that good. Tiff’s Treats will never stop sparking joy. Little things can spark big joy on some days.

I was talking to Jeff and Alisa yesterday afternoon about a particularly beautiful hike in Glacier National Park. They were telling me that the downhill portion of this hike is rather strenuous. Imagine what Peter, James, and John felt as they were leaving the mountain after witnessing the Transfiguration of Jesus. Imagine the crash after that high. (Stephanie will elaborate on this in her sermon on Sunday. If you can’t be there, I encourage you to listen to it on our podcast or website!)

I encourage you to try an exercise sometime this week: Either write or just take a few moments to pause and reflect on your day. Name three things that brought you happiness that day and why it made you happy. Feel how that can alter your mood. Use this spark of joy to help you (and others around you!) remain transfigured as we carry the light down from the mountain.

Love,

Jonathan Castillo
Minister of Music and Outreach

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