Joy = interior sunshine

“Now I’ve heard there was a secret Chord that David played and it pleased the Lord.”

“Hallelujah” — Leonard Cohen

I embraced the stormy winter weather on Sunday to hear the Guinness choir with Mary Coughlan perform in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The Choir established in 1951 by Victor Leeson was truly inspirational in its growth and direction. Early performances included the great oratorios of Bach and Handel, many of which were performed in Dublin for the first time. A special highlight in 2016 was the Choir’s participation on Easter Sunday in a choir of 1000 voices with the RTE Symphony Orchestra in the RTE 1916 Commemoration concert of ‘A Nation’s Voice’ by Shaun Davey.


There was a mixing of sacred and secular on Sunday. The beauty of the interior of the Cathedral and the depth of emotion in Mary Coughlan’s voice as she belted out a few Leonard Cohen’s songs. Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ the baseline of secular hymns was particularly good.

The word Hallelujah is an English modification. The Hebrew translation is;

Praise ye, Yah!

Since the Concert, I’ve been pondering on that word and what motivates us to praise, something greater than ourselves. If we persevere in our praise of a great Creator, are we able to develop a ‘deep down in the bones’ JOY that’s untouchable by toxic relationships, circumstances or events?

The lyrics of Hallelujah describe being caught between two places. The struggle between being human with human desires AND searching for spiritual wisdom and joy.

The song has several biblical references. Samson and Delilah from the book of Judges (“she broke your throne and she cut your hair”) as well as King David and Bathsheba (“you saw her bathing on the roof her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.”)


Psalm 111:10 aligns with this 111 th post. Spiritual wisdom and joy goes hand in hand with a healthy fear of God.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”


The sculptor of the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in St. Patrick’s Cathedral was created by Albert Bruce-JOY.

2 thoughts on “Joy = interior sunshine

  1. I decided to read more about “the fear of God” and found some interesting writings at wiki. Joy. Peace. Love. All folded in together.

    Fear of God – Wikipedia

    According to Pope Francis, “The fear of the Lord, the gift of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t mean being afraid of God, since we know that God is our Father that always loves and forgives us,…[It] is no servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and a grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace.”

    From a theological perspective “fear of the Lord” encompasses more than simple fear. Robert B. Strimple says, “There is the convergence of awe, reverence, adoration, honor, worship, confidence, thankfulness, love, and, yes, fear.” In the Magnificat (Luke 1:50) Mary declaims, “His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.” The Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8) finds Jesus describing the judge as one who “…neither feared God nor cared for man.” Some translations of the Bible, such as the New International Version, sometimes replace the word “fear” with “reverence”.

    It can also mean fear of God’s judgment. The fear of God is felt because one understands the “fearful expectation of judgement”. Still, this is not a fear that leads one to despair, rather it must be coupled with trust, and most importantly, love. In Psalms 130:3-4, it is said, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

    In the New Testament, this fear is described using the Greek word φόβος (phobos, “fear/horror”), except in 1 Timothy 2:10, where Paul describes γυναιξὶν ἐπαγγελλομέναις θεοσέβειαν (gynaixin epangellomenais theosebeian), “women professing the fear of God”, using the word θεοσέβεια (theosebeia).

    Roman Catholicism counts this fear as one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Proverbs 15:33, the fear of the Lord is described as the “discipline” or “instruction” of wisdom. Writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Jacques Forget explains that this gift “fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread, above all things, to offend Him.” In an April 2006 article published in Inside the Vatican magazine, contributing editor John Mallon writes that the “fear” in “fear of the Lord” is often misinterpreted as “servile fear” (the fear of getting in trouble) when it should be understood as “filial fear” (the fear of offending someone whom one loves).

    According to Jerry Bridges, “There was a time when committed Christians were known as God-fearing people. This was a badge of honor.”

    Lutheran theologian Rudolf Otto coined the term numinous to express the type of fear one has for the Lord. Anglican C. S. Lewis references the term in many of his writings, but specifically describes it in his book The Problem of Pain and states that fear of the numinous is not a fear that one feels for a tiger, or even a ghost. Rather, the fear of the numinous, as C. S. Lewis describes it, is one filled with awe, in which you “feel wonder and a certain shrinking” or “a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant of or prostration before it”. It is a fear that comes forth out of love for the Lord.

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