The every-other-Thursday Bible study at the hospital, after three years, is finally going to finish Luke's Gospel tomorrow. Maybe. The group of about 8-10 men and women, of which I'm the youngest, is pretty good at going off on tangents. We get to talking about late husbands and new maladies and the like. One person brings in Hebrew trivia. Another exclaims "It's all over my head!" You know, we have fun. So there's a good chance we actually WON'T finish tomorrow.
But it has been a good journey, I think. And the final thing that once again strikes me is this: "joy" is a key word.
"They returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52). Luke's Gospel begins with joy (Luke 1:14, 44, 58) and ends with joy. The angel tells Mary "I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
The "Son of God" (Luke 1:35), the "Savior and Messiah" (Luke 2:11) was sent from heaven for just this reason: ultimately to bring joy to all people. He came to take the tragedy of a world ravaged by evil and sin and turn it into a comedy (as in, a story with a happy ending).
And this joy, which no hardship, no wile of the devil can ever extinguish, continues to grow and grow in the community of believers bound to Jesus (Acts 2:28, 8:8, 13:52, 14:17, 16:34).
The One who constantly brings us this joy is the Holy Spirit, acting in Jesus' stead: "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 13:52).
I pray that all who read this are filled anew with the joy of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost.