Footballers have been reminded this week to avoid physical contact, such as hugging and handshakes, when celebrating a goal. (Such reminders are, of course, purely academic / irrelevant for Crystal Palace). Several managers and players have expressed the difficulty, even impossibility, of complying with such regulations in all the emotion of a goal being scored.
One particular feature of the current pandemic is the heightening of our emotions, with the potential for very wide and wild swings in such emotions. We may feel at times like the exiles in Babylon – they describe in Psalm 137 how they wept by the rivers as they remembered Zion and were tormented by their captors who demanded of them songs of joy. (It’s particularly interesting to note the emotions attached to singing, especially at present – and, indeed, how emotional some of us felt when we sang carols together in the car park just before Christmas).
Jesus expresses a full range of human emotions in the Gospels, from great joy to deep sadness and grief. It is actually healthy to show true emotion – the notion that “big boys don’t cry” is very flawed. Paul instructs us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12v15).
I was particularly drawn to such true emotion when preaching last Sunday morning on the resurrection of Jesus. In Matthew 28v8 we read of the two Marys being “afraid yet filled with joy”. Surely this was a true mix of emotions – bewildered, fearful and yet rejoicing. Let’s express and bring all our emotions to God remembering that “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Nehemiah 8v10) and that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalm 23v4).
Peace and Grace