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The little country church was packed to the gills, overflowing with flowers, family and friends. As the couple made their entrance to the heartfelt singing and strumming of the groom’s brothers, the emotions threatened to burst their banks. Eyes welled up and feelings of joy rolled over the gathered community like a strong pacific swell. I often tell people I have the best seat in the house when I’m performing a wedding ceremony. I get to see the tears and anticipation, the dreams and hopes, anticipation and the overwhelming presence of joy. More and more I recognize my task is to hold space for that love-born joy, to name it and root the couple and the community into it. It’s daunting and holy work, not just for weddings but for so much more. Let’s dig in this week and see what we can learn about joy.

Grace and peace y’all,

John Ray and the teaching team

Leading Questions

  • For you, what is the difference between joy and happiness? What brings them about? How do you experience them? How were these ideas taught to you? Has your personal experience changed the way you understand them?
  • What stops you from experiencing joy? What brings about foreboding joy in your life?
  • What does joy feel like in your body and mind? How do you recognize it?
  • Can you think of a time that holistic alignment within your life led to recognizing joy?/ Have you ever experienced joy and then realized the alignment that led up to it? (Some question about the impact of alignment on joy)
  • What roots joy?
  • What impact has toxic positivity culture had on your willingness or ability to experience joy?



John 15, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:4-5 (NET)

Images, Music, and Poems


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Grace Church of Northwest Arkansas is a nondenominational community of Christ-followers committed to loving others, living out the Gospel and serving in Jesus’ name. We stand with the marginalized and welcome folks of all races, genders, and sexual orientations.

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