J is for Joy

J is for Joy

Sorting out recently I came across this quotation from the Epistle of Britain Yearly Meeting 2004:

At the centre of our Religious Society of Friends lies a precious pearl, the Truth that we know in our hearts. Let us be confident and not withhold the joy of this continuing discovery from the world. To strengthen our Meetings, we need to tell others why we are Friends. We must face our fears of conflict and change, but also express our joy in our faith and community.


I was already thinking to write about joy and what brings me joy, this short quotation uses the word twice – and urges us to share it, not withhold it.

Looking at the spiritual preparation questions for Yearly Meeting this year, I’m being asked about sharing my journey with other Friends, how I do that and how easy or difficult I find it. Then about my experience of being ‘spoken to’ in a meeting for worship, of being ‘nudged ‘by the Spirit, how and if I could share any leading with others.

I wonder if I have made any progress in sharing the joy in my life since we wrote that epistle in 2004.

sun gunnera

So what brings me joy? The simple, probably obvious, things such as

  • flowers and birds in the garden, when I take time to stop and look and listen

  • walking, being present and aware of each step

  • being with people I love

  • cooking mindfully


And that ‘precious pearl’, the Truth I know in my heart, the Presence that I feel, though I may be uncertain how to name it? How do I express my joy in that? By

  • continuing to remember ‘that of God’ in everyone

  • sitting in silent, expectant waiting with others

  • serving my community (Quaker and otherwise) in ways that use my talents


Do I express this joy, do I share it? I hope so. But I could do better. How?

  • let my inner child out, to stop and look and point to the latest delight

  • talk a little about my experience of the Presence and the joy I find in that

  • listen to others and hear their joy as well as their troubles

  • ask the questions that help people express their joy

  • listen to others express the Truth they know in their hearts, whatever language they use


And you, do you know that Truth in your heart? Do you have the confidence to share it?

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