Jesus’ experience teaches us that it is not only possible to experience joy and sorrow simultaneously, but that it is mandatory if we are to live as authentic human beings.
“When I was old enough to understand,” writes novelist Chaim Potok in The Chosen, “[my father] told me that of all people a tzaddik (a righteous, wise man) especially must know of pain. A tzaddik must know how to suffer for his people, he said. He must take their pain from them and carry it on his own shoulder. He must cry, in his heart he must always cry. Even when he dances and sings, he must cry for the sufferings of his people.”
I could hardly be considered a tzaddik, but that’s been my experience as well. Even as we celebrate the joys of life, there is another part of us that grieves for those who suffer so cruelly. And it is this brokenness, this spiritual sorrow that is our rite of passage into the ministry. It gives our life an authenticity it would not otherwise have. Thus it was with Jesus whom the scriptures refer to as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3) That doesn’t mean he was a melancholy man, but only that he carried humanities pain in his heart even when he was enjoying a meal with friends, or laughing with children, or celebrating at a wedding. Jesus’ experience teaches us that it is not only possible to experience joy and sorrow simultaneously, but that it is mandatory if we are to live as authentic human beings.Category: April 2009