The Mission of Joy

Long years ago the Spartans were led to a great victory by a schoolmaster whose only weapon was his lute, which put into men's hearts the inspiration of song; and history records many other instances which go to prove that oftentimes it is joy which inspires the world to its heroic deeds. Still farther back we find the Scriptural precedent for this use of music as an inspiration in battle, for we read of a king of Judah who, terrified before the overwhelming armies of Ammon and Moab, obeyed the word of the Lord, "Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's," by placing in the forefront of his army singers that chanted, "Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever," until Ammon and Moab fled before them.

Through the ages mankind have been seeking much joy and finding little. Conventional religion has not given it. When the religion which Jesus had preached was made ritualistic by those who came after him, it lost its vitality so far as human need was concerned. When the simple fact of God as Father and all men as brothers gave way to ceremonials, to what purported to be glorious buildings and beautiful services, then hierarchical priests, intolerance, and long faces gradually took the place of simple, spontaneous joy. Even while believing in a God in heaven, mortal man was seemingly at the mercy of worldly circumstances for his happiness. Mournfulness became a virtue, until even Jesus was portrayed as "a man of sorrows," instead of one anointed with "the oil of gladness" above his fellows.

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"Gashmu saith it"
February 17, 1917
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