“… we admire the monks of Chester because they are not wearied by the toil of their joyful yoke. To the local people they are cheery; to those who come from afar they are jovial, ready to open their hearts to them.”

This was on a plaque that my wife, Ollie, and daughter, Becky, came across on a recent visit to Chester cathedral.

The words are attributed to Monk Lucian of Chester and said to have been written around 800 years ago.

As we reviewed these simple comments, they presented both an encouragement and a challenge.

I confess the image that sits in my mind of a habit-wearing monk, living a life under strict holy orders around 1200AD, would not be one to which I would easily attach words like ‘joyful, cheery and jovial’. However, clearly this was the manner that they displayed, both to those in the locality and others who visited them.

What an encouragement! It seems that all who encountered these monks would witness something of the joy that comes in serving God. However great the sacrifice, as they carried the yoke of Jesus, they did it with joy.

The challenge then is how much do we display the joy which comes from God and of which the scriptures have so much to say.

Do people observe cheeriness in our disposition? Do those who visit us see joviality in our manner?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

May we radiate out the joy of His love, both within and outside our church family, together and individually.


phil clowes squarePhil Clowes is an elder on our leadership team.
Taken from the latest edition of our bi-monthly church newsletter.