Gaudate Sunday: Get your rejoice on

It’s Gaudate Sunday, when we light the candle of Joy. It is traditionally the Sunday that we celebrate Mary’s response to the news that she is going to carry the child of God. Gaudate is Latin for rejoice. It’s a good time to remember that if Mary can recognize God’s blessings in the midst of finding out that she’s an unwed pregnant teenager in an age where they could stone you to death for being that, perhaps we can find some joy in our circumstances as well.

Listen to the story of the Annunciation (a big fancy word for when the angel appeared to Mary to reveal the results of a pregnancy test she never took) followed by the story of what happened next.

If you’re having trouble accessing joy today–in light of an on-going pandemic, natural disasters that rip paths of destruction through people’s lives and whatever pain is happening in your own life and in the lives of people you love, hear the words of my friend the Rev. Kate Murphy.

Any joy that is holy exists in response to searing losses–holy joy is a fierce defiant joy that testifies that there is another way, a way of healing, a way of shalom, a way of redemption and reconciliation mutual interdependent flourishing of all of creation–and the way is breaking out all around us. Your joy in Jesus must be in loving healing response to the deep wounds of the world–or it’s blasphemy.

Rev. Kate Murphy

This Gaudate Sunday, go out in joy and be led forth in peace into a world that needs your fierce defiant joy to bring healing and hope to a weary world.


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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