Community in Action January 9, 2021

May the God of hope

fill you with all joy

and peace as you trust in him, 

so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

    This benediction comes from Paul as he finishes up his treatise to the Christians in Rome. This letter addresses issues around grace, devotion, and service, but Paul ends with this call to trust in God and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I don’t know about you, but I continually look for examples of God’s presence in this world which touch my heart with joy. These are things which give me hope that all is not lost.

    In the last twenty-four hours I had two events which gave me such joy. The first happened yesterday afternoon when I officiated a memorial service for a deceased bass player for a band. He was 68 and had been playing since he was in high school. He even did some songwriting in the last few years besides being back up for numerous bands.

    The last band he worked with wanted to have a memorial tribute to him by playing at this memorial service. So when I got to the chapel I found the band members setting up their amplifiers, drum set, keyboard and electric guitar. They of course wanted to practice beforehand so the service, which was to start at 3:00 pm, didn’t start until 3:30 pm.

    It was a wonderful tribute as we enfolded their musical set of four songs into the memorial service. It was the first service I have officiated which had a live rock band playing for the those attending. It was needless to say quite a “lively” tribute.

    The second event was while walking with Joan this morning we came upon three otters swimming down the canal. They were diving, swimming in circles, and slowly meandering down the canal. This is only the second time we have seen them in the water.

    It is these joyful, playful moments which suspend my concerns about the state of the world. It is when a child giggles uncontrollably or tries to remember a new joke they learned, often times giving away the punch line before they can get the joke told.

    The smile on my face is only an outward expression of the joy in my heart. This joy brings a sense that the world is not totally doomed. This joy brings me a sense of hope and causes me to look forward to the unfolding of the day.

    I long for you to have moments of joy like this also. A joy which will pull you and me from the murky pit which threatens to encase us in despair or hopelessness. Let us continue to trust God and depend on the power of the Holy Spirit now and forever.

    Blessings and joy to you,

    Pastor Randy

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