by William R. Rathvon
Rejoice always! It is a mistake to confine joy to circumstances or things. He who can rejoice even when things go wrong is the one for whom things will soon go right. Light and joy go hand in hand, as do darkness and sorrow; but as light dispels darkness, so does joy dissolve sorrow. The two cannot exist in the same place at the same time. There are no tears in heaven; since, as Mrs. Eddy says, “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation.” (S&H)
But joy is not merely an effect: it may be said to be a cause also. It is not only a result of harmonious conditions, it produces them. It is a great restorer. To say of a friend, “He is happy because he is well,” may indicate a wrong concept; for it may be that he is well because he is happy. Work for joy. It pays better wages than sorrow, selfishness, and sin all combined. He who smiles often when he is alone — alone with God — knows that God is Love; and God knows that he knows.
Heaven is commonly pictured as a place where joy reigns and the angels sing. But the angels never sing dirges. The thoughts that pass from God to man are clothed in lightness and brightness. Their wings are of joy, not of feathers. They soar upwards; but they can also descend to us. Where do we look for them? Down? Never! Straight ahead? Sometimes! Up? Always! Look forward and look upward for the good that cometh down from “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Joy is the outcome of faith. The Psalmist wrote, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Christian Science brings joy, just as Spring brings flowers, through quickening forces that operate unseen.
True joy comes in working for God, in obedience to Truth. Knowing this, Mrs. Eddy has placed an obligation upon the shoulders of every member of her church, the obligation of a selfless daily appeal to divine Mind for the establishment of the reign of eternal harmony in each individual consciousness. With the words, “It shall be the duty,” she has given us the Daily Prayer, which reads, “‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (Man.)
This daily duty is a binding obligation, but never a burdensome one. It imparts a sense of serenity, it gives a freedom that is inseparable from Love. It tends to shape approaching events harmoniously, and gives foresight, confidence, and ability to do in the best way the things that are to be done. It imparts a joyous tinge that colors and brightens the whole day.