This week’s videos will take up the theme of Invitation. As you get ready for the week, we invite you to listen in on a conversation about Invitation between the Novice Guardian, Br. David Vryhof, and Brs. Luke Ditewig and John Braught. We hope their questions will start your thinking about your own, and give you a glimpse into the Brothers’ daily life as monks who look to the Gospel of John to guide their own lives of love. We hope this coming week will help you to #LoveLife.

Is God present to you through joy?
Write your Answer – click here


  1. Ruth West on March 28, 2014 at 17:02

    I love “The Hymn to Joy” which I play and sing often.
    “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, Drive the daark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day.”
    All four stanzas awaken the joy of his love and grace within me. Praise to His name!!

  2. Beth on March 25, 2014 at 10:59

    God is love. Knowing that he loves me at all times, is with me always gives me great joy

  3. anonymous on March 20, 2014 at 09:49

    Loved what the brothers said about not taking oneself too seriously (“deadly to spirituality”). Enough of the judgment and criticism! Laughter is pure God.

  4. Kc on March 18, 2014 at 08:30

    I would not call it God that is present to me through joy as I am still searching. But I would say that laughter allows the difficult or frustrating times to flow through me ore readily. I am really thankful for that. I don’t know that that is God or Buddha or another entity, but we are blessed when we believe in a higher power because we can feel another higher purpose. A mysterious but glorious universe which we are part of

  5. Dorothy Wilson on March 17, 2014 at 20:18

    My sister and I had a good laugh tonight. I feel that God was laughing with us as well. I feel God is with me in my laughter as well in my sorrow. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are in me as much as I am in them.

  6. Tammy on March 17, 2014 at 20:08

    Joy comes in the most unexpected places and moments….I was walking our rambunctious golden retriever when I ran into our neighbor’s daughter….she is quite chatty and sounds like she is 45 instead of 10….Noah in an attempt to greet her started to lunge at her and she kept saying…”Noah….all is well…all is well. Noah….get it Noah…all is well…” I apologized and said….he is learning manners and doesn’t understand what all is well means… she said without missing a bit…” hows that working out for you?” It was a belly laugh moment and still is when I hear her sarcastic ten yr old humor….I can see God saying ” how this working out for you” when I do something equally as inappropriate…..we are I think afraid to allow joy to somehow being cynical we think hell will have less dominion over us……….my young friend (who recently had a brain aneurysm repaired to great success after a major stroke from which at 31 she suffered no permanent consequence)….wrote this morning that she kept waiting for the other shoe to drop because she cannot believe that too good to be true is in fact true….she is afraid to let her joy and gratitude for healing loose…..I cant help but think that joy is in fact a faith statement that too good to be true is in fact true …how would our lives be different if we believed we were inheritors of that gift? Id sure like to try it out for a while since sorrow never seems to be in short supply.

  7. Julie Watt Faqir on March 17, 2014 at 17:32

    God is ABSOLUTELY present with me through Joy. Happy times and joyfulness are times when I most easily feel God with me. Even in goofy times, I feel His presence.

  8. Ross Bliss on March 17, 2014 at 15:57

    I believe God continuously desires to be present to me through joy, and I recognize that I am the limiting factor.
    I am usually struck by joy in unexpected moments and places, when without necessarily noticing it, I allow myself to be vulnerable and open.

  9. John Okerman on March 17, 2014 at 14:47

    In direct response to the question I don’t think God is present to me through joy. I have always thought God was much more serious but when I reflect on it He also has a sense of humor. In response to the video I definitely think we should not take ourselves and most situations too seriously. I observe many people who do. They communicate a high level of self importance because they are serious and every issue is serious and important. I strongly disagree. I, like many of us, work on loving myself as well as others and try hard to eliminate the negative self doubts and self talk. I try not to take myself seriously but know God takes me very seriously and loves me. That makes a big difference in how I see myself and how I love others.

  10. fred adams on March 17, 2014 at 11:49

    Joy can be manifested as peace, contentment, and at one with the world. That contentment/happiness is certainly joyous, and there have been times when I have experienced that, (and which now during this lenten exercise, I journal) but I can’t make the connection with laughter, and the “happy, happy, joy, joy.” and that’s OK.

  11. Deacon Susan in California on March 17, 2014 at 11:26

    There is a great feeling of joy in the celebrations we have at church today for St. Patrick’s Day. There is a spirit of song and laughter. The special foods are fun to talk about while cooking and then share at the table. Sad to see that in some secular celebrations the alcohol has such a major influence on the revels that the joy becomes masked by loudness, roughness, anger and underneath there seems to be depression not joy.

  12. Winifred on March 17, 2014 at 03:51

    Like some of the other comments, I see God in the joy i observe in puppies playing, or in a cat lying in the sunshine, or in children running at the beach (external demonstrations of joy), but have a harder time pinpointing my own moments of joy, or the spirit of God in them –

  13. James Walley on March 17, 2014 at 00:02

    This was, possibly, the most important video in the series for me, personally. I recognize myself in their conversation — as someone who’s a lot harder on myself and my failings than on others (while, paradoxically, probably demanding a lot less of myself than I should…but being utterly merciless when I fail to meet even those demands). In short, whatever I may think about God as an entity “out there,” the God “in here” is quite a fearsome tyrant…which may be a clue that it’s not God, but a demon. I look forward to learning more throughout this week, while praying that God “may find and be found by” me.

  14. The Rev. Victoria L. Collins, Deacon on March 16, 2014 at 21:40

    I attended a spiritual conference some years ago, and at one point we were assigned to discuss how we witnessed our faith in the world. My tablemates were somewhat stunned when I suggested that in many cases our most important witness to the world should be our JOY. But…without exception, they agreed that this is the reflection of God’s great love/mercy/forgiveness/redemption/acceptance. And it’s so easy when we are living in the sheer joy of God’s love!

  15. David Twiggs on March 16, 2014 at 21:28

    Not hard for us to find God in Joy!

    God is Joy!

  16. Marty on March 16, 2014 at 20:57

    God can play little tricks. The priest in the healing service asked for both of my blocked coronary arteries to be opened up. That’s a very bold request, I thought, and it’s never going to happen. When my cardiologist looked inside my arteries with his catheter he found that one artery had become (his words) “pristine.” The other was still blocked. That’s God saying “Ha, ha! You might think I can’t do this, but I can. But don’t think you’re going to get everything you want.” What a lesson!

  17. LindaR on March 16, 2014 at 20:23

    I used to believe God wanted me to be serious and quiet and continually hating myself for not being good enough. There was fear and violence at home back then. Depression felt like my natural state. Then I was introduced to an Episcopal priest with a wonderful, gentle sense of humor. He had a framed drawing of Jesus laughing above one of the vestment cabinets in the sacristy, which was also the room where he counseled parishioners. That’s where I first heard that God loves us and isn’t out to punish us for every weakness or mistake; God understands everything about us and loves us anyway. He’s on our side. That took a long time to sink in, but sitting between the cross and that drawing, it became safe to talk about anything and everything. God is love. Joy is part of God. Joy is relatively new in my life, so it grabs my attention. I recognize God as the source. The rush of love and gratitude increases the joy, in an ascending spiral. Those moments make the bad times bearable.

  18. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 16, 2014 at 19:13

    Yes God is present to me through joy. When I feel joyful, I feel that God is particularly with me. I experience Him feeling joyful along with me, and giving me the joy. It seems to occur when I am present to God, and communicating with Him. It happens on those days that flow easily and when I feel good about myself and my life, and about God.

  19. Marilyn Weir on March 16, 2014 at 18:59

    I believe that’s where/when God is most present to me – through joy. That is what I feel the most within me when I feel God’s presence expanding within me – it is pure joy. Sometimes I feel like I could explode during those expansions.

  20. larry j on March 16, 2014 at 18:00

    God is present to me in joy and sorrow, in my highest peaks and deepest valleys. Often I experience laughing at myself as such a gift and I am confident God shares that moment.

  21. Sr. Donna Morgan on March 16, 2014 at 17:03

    The finest epiphany I ever had was when I realized that I could hide nothing from God; He saw and new everything about me. This caused great joy and laughter for me, because I have done some very funny and crazy things, that I never thought about God knowing about, that I had somehow hidden it from Him…then I thought about how He also knows about ALL the things I’ve done and I am humbled and led to beg for forgiveness of my sins

  22. Jane Anne Gleason on March 16, 2014 at 16:34

    I certainly find joy in the laughter or children, in thier giggles and (somteimes} sly smiles. I certainly experienced their joy in the SS lesson I shared with them today. It is a class of wiggly 4/5 yr olds tha are my favorate age to be with as they experience the wonder of God’s love in Jesus.

  23. the Rev. Judith Jones on March 16, 2014 at 16:19

    I am most aware of God’s presence in my life through the experience of Joy. Joy is that overwhelming sense of wellbeing (of being loved and cared for by God) that brings the certainty of, as St. Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”. And, through her statement, awareness dawns that the “shall be” has become present tense. No matter the circumstances, all things are well as we live into God’s love.

    • Marilyn Weir on March 16, 2014 at 19:00

      Yes, yes, yes!

      • Pam on March 16, 2014 at 20:32

        Yes, for me God’s presence and joy are intimately linked, because it is when I feel God’s presence that I experience joy. Joy is more than happiness, more than laughter. It is a feeling of being “loved and cared for by God.” There is an exuberance to it. There is immeasurable gratefulness. There is a feeling of union with all that God created. Feelings of love for all people overflow my heart. It feels like soaring on eagle’s wings. It doesn’t last forever, and it comes unpredictably. It is God’s gift.

  24. jane goldring on March 16, 2014 at 15:34

    I think God is with us at all times good or bad. We just have to take time to sit and listen to him. It is God to who we go to with our problems and pray about them and be ready to listen to God. Especially when i go to Holy Eucharist and think about the things which during the week occured. To go up and receive the wafer & wine and ask for His forgiveness.

  25. Lorna Harris on March 16, 2014 at 11:53

    Just this morning – at 3:00 am, to be precise, I was awake and beating myself up for many things I felt I had done wrong in the past. Then I though to myself none of those things had had bad outcomes. So why was I thinking of what could have gone wrong when it hadn’t ( plenty of other things have, mind you, but they are not the ones that were bothering me). Why am I so anxious about hypotheticals? Then once I formulated that thought – or the Holy Spirit guided me to think it – I felt so much better – even joyful! I did all right. Nothing bad happened I can rejoice and be glad in it!

  26. Sue on March 16, 2014 at 11:38

    There may be no scriptural references to Jesus laughing, but he could not have been human without expressing laughter. I can imagine his reaction many times when trying to teach his disciples God’s wisdom – trying to get them to understand. I can imagine him rolling his eyes in laughing frustration when they just didn’t get it. I have felt a few times that he also pokes fun at me or even a lighthearted joke to lighten up my mood, to get me out the mode of taking myself too seriously. Laughter and joy go hand in hand especially for the risen Christ!

    • LindaR on March 16, 2014 at 20:32

      Thank you for such beautiful imagery!

  27. jaan Sass on March 16, 2014 at 11:12

    Sometimes I feel cursed joy seems so far away. My wife is very sick. I’m struggling With my own issues and all else appears to be crashing down yet somehow a little act of kindness a friend or even a thought reminds me I am not alone and that gives me joy admittedly it’s not much. But that little joy. Keeps me going.

    • Amy on March 16, 2014 at 12:54

      I sometimes find it hard to experience joy. I find myself searching more for answers and asking why than experiencing joy. It is something I forget to do, I think. My sincere thoughts are with you during your difficult time. Another post was beautiful in how they pointed out other creatures in nature seems to know better than us how to enjoy their time on earth. Take time to watch these creatures. Nature can be very healing.

      • LindaR on March 16, 2014 at 20:37

        May God wrap you and your wife in total gentleness and fill both of you, in body, mind, and spirit, with his healing, love, and joy. Amen.

    • Kathy on March 17, 2014 at 00:35

      You are not alone – God is always there- please know He loves you and your wife so much- I pray you both feel His Presence!

  28. Gloria Veltman on March 16, 2014 at 10:33

    When I see a sunrise, a flower, one of my Shelties turn a loving face to me; the small things that bring joy & a smile.

  29. Lola Hogeman on March 16, 2014 at 10:20

    I am one who loves working and spending time in my gardens. Friday and again Sat. I felt joyous as I worked there. I never realized until today’s “conversation” video that perhaps Jesus was sharing that time with me- something I have long wished for! Thank you so very much!

  30. Peggy Hill on March 16, 2014 at 09:53

    I experience joy as a form of grace. The merciful relief it brings in the midst of stress or hardship, the release of all anxiety or fear in a moment of laughter. These are gifts of God’s presence and reassurance that I recognize most quickly as love.

  31. Christie Kilby on March 16, 2014 at 09:30

    I was living in China for the past 9 months (for dissertation research) and recently returned home. So many times, laughter helped me through difficult or ridiculous situations in China — the humor of friends saved me from despair, helped me not take myself (or the challenges around me) too seriously, and helped me open my view wider. Sometimes, through joy and humor, I was able to abide with God in that space where everything is good and even the crummy stuff is at least good for a laugh and a lesson.

  32. James + on March 16, 2014 at 09:22

    Healthy introspection, the sacrament of reconciliation, and prayer are helpful spiritual tools the Lord gives us and expects us to use to avoid and recognize taking this earthly life too seriously. All other creatures in nature seem to have a wonderful, humble joy with themselves with some sort of eternal wisdom we humans have yet to develop.

  33. Leslie on March 16, 2014 at 08:32

    As I have aged into some manner of wisdom, I can finally embrace the parts of me that I always wished were different. The delight is in unpacking the chest with new eyes and laughing at the useful, sparkly or precious treasures placed there.

  34. Christopher Epting on March 16, 2014 at 08:26

    I love good music (all kinds) and I love to sing. And so when I think of God being present to me in joy, I immediately think of the Jubilate: “Be joyful in the Lord,all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song.”

  35. Jim on March 16, 2014 at 07:38

    I think God is present to me in both joy and sorrow.

  36. Eva on March 16, 2014 at 07:14

    “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever.”
    from the Westminster Shorter Catechism

    • Jane Anne Gleason on March 16, 2014 at 16:38

      I too learned that in my Presbterian Catecisim class and is something I remember almos daily in my private worship.

  37. Michael Kolenick on March 16, 2014 at 05:50

    I agree. I can feel that He is laughing with me at times. I think that He wants us to enjoy our time on this earth and not take ourselves too seriously.

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