There’s a quote from the webpage on Joy that I wanted to use for this small group ministry session, but it didn’t quite fit. So I’m going to put it up front here, sort of as an appetizer: “Finding joy is the hardest of all spiritual tasks. If the only way to make yourself happy is by doing something silly, do it. ” That’s according to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in The Empty Chair. I’m going to hang onto this quote for when I do a small group ministry session on Silliness. In the meantime, Joy.

Joy is an intermezzo of gratitude.

Chalice/Candle Lighting

Opening Words:

Joy is an intermezzo of gratitude that interrupts the routine motion of life.
— Lewis B. Smedes in How Can It Be All Right When Everything Is All Wrong



A Teaching Story from Tap Dancing in Zen by Geri Larkin

Zen teacher Geri Larkin ponders the riches of the Metta Sutra attributed to the Buddha. In one dharma talk, she ponders the importance of friendliness and laughter.

The Dalai Lama’s whole life story is a demonstration of the power of friendliness. He is everyone’s friend. When you meet him face to face, he grins at you like you are his long-lost best friend, looking deeply into your eyes with a kindness that is breathtaking. He laughs with everyone all the time, the way best friends do. John Cleese, formerly of ‘Monty Python’ fame and now a business consultant, once talked about this with the Dalai Lama: ‘I asked him why it is that, in Tibetan Buddhism, they all laugh so much. It’s the most delightful thing to be around them, because they are constantly in fits of giggles. And he said to me, very seriously, that laughter is very helpful to him in teaching and indeed in political negotiations, because when people laugh, it is easier for them to admit new ideas to their mind.’

Questions: What can be done to create a greater atmosphere of joy in your home and community? What will be your legacy of joy to the next generations?

Check-out/Likes and Wishes

Closing Words:

To find joy in another’s joy
that is the secret of happiness.
— George Bernanos quoted in Joy by Beverly Elaine Eanes

To Practice This Thought: Knowing how much pleasure there is in making others happy, vow to practice joy.

Group Session Plan based on resources on Joy from

For a PDF version of this small group ministry session, click here: Joy.

For more information on small group ministry, visit the UU Small Group Ministry Network.