Join the Tokens Show Email Community

If you want to be a part of a thriving community of smart, courageous, adventuresome human beings, busy sowing seeds of peace, cultivating beauty, and practicing mercy, then you've come to the right place.

We won't send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

God's Merchandise is Expensive

If joy could be bought,
what would I pay?
If, as advertising peddles,
joy could be mine today
for 19.97,
would I buy it?

Supposing joy could be legislated—
that a political candidate promised
each and every one of us
life, liberty, and happiness
through joy’s ordinance,
would I vote for that?

What if joy could be
brought into being
intellectually,
the rational faculty
of this brain in me,
could I mind-over-matter it?

Okay, speculate
God freely gave
joy to all who prayed
and got saved
today?
Would I believe it?

In all truth,
we all know
down in our guts
that joy
is not easy like that.
She ain’t cheap.

For God’s merchandise
is expensive.

Faced with death,
joy is irrational.
When it comes to sorrow
she’s counter-cultural.
Against despair,
she angles her body,

remembering the child within.
Despite life’s hate,
she heeds her loves,
and enjoys the goods
already hers,
finding beauty in ashes.

There’s something unspeakable
about joy— unexplainable.
She’s personal.
She’s individual,
and all at the same time, communal—
a work of the people.

So, for the joy set before us
we find her in the sensual
we find her in the uncontrollable.
As likely on death row as at a carnival,
she’s inexplicable
as she rolls death’s stones out of our way.


26840773_10155925104296000_5988540307346124835_o.jpg

With thanks, and credit, to the "Joy and the Good Life" Conference at Yale Divinity School, 2018, especially the insights and work of Prof. Willie Jennings.


Dr. Sara Barton is the University Chaplain at Pepperdine University.

Don't miss our upcoming live events...Get your tickets now:
UPCOMING SHOWS