"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

“Of Water, Born” – Saturday, March 6, 2021

St. Helen’s Daily Lenten Devotional

One of the first ‘contemporary’ Christian songs I heard as a pre-teen is called Joy is like the Rain, by Sister Miriam Therese Winter of the Medical Mission Sisters (1966).  Sung with a guitar accompaniment, it was nothing like the hymns we knew in our traditional Anglican church.

 I did not realize that, over the years, the song was taught in every place of ministry the sisters went, around the world.  In 2013, speaking at a conference, Sister Miriam Therese shared that she wrote it at the lowest part of her existence.  She had accepted the call to the religious life, to be a nun.  But it was not unfolding in the way she had imagined or desired. I was surprised to discover that few of the lyrics were different, depending on what version was consulted.

“I saw rain drops on my window,
joy is like the rain
Laughter runs across my pane, 
slips away and comes again
Joy is like the rain”

But I learned it by listening to it, not reading the lyrics and music on a page.  And I always thought it was “laughter runs across my pain, slips away and comes again…” and that is the word in some versions!  It evokes a very different feeling, touches on a darker reality and perhaps is closer to the lyricist’s original emotion. The song, is obviously about joy… like the rain, like a cloud. But it includes the acknowledgement that joy is “tried by storm” and that, with Christ “asleep within my boat”, in trusting God, one can stay afloat!  

The Psalmist confesses, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16) According to  John’s Gospel(15:9-11) Jesus said  “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

That doesn’t mean that our lives will be storm free, or heartache free, or pain free.  It does mean that we have Someone who will always be there to hold the umbrella!