Stepping Up To The Plate

Sunday’s Scripture ~ I Peter 1:3-9

It’s the week after Holy Week.  My dear friend Sarah refers to it as Hurricane Holy Week!  Feelings of being windswept, underwater, and overwhelmed are all the menu.  Activities at home go on hold – save eating, sleeping, and showering – which spouses, staffs, and congregants appreciate.  Activities at church go on hold, too, unless they pertain one of the many ministry happenings of Holy Week.  And then Easter happens – He is risen, indeed! – and life resumes to its regularly scheduled programming…

I have had some difficulties this week getting on the right channel.  Exhaustion – physical, spiritual, and creative – has reigned.  On Tuesday Sarah (who is in Western Massachusetts), our friend Dan (who Southwest of the ATL), and I participated in communal sermon planning…and at the beginning it sounded a lot like the conversation between the two buzzards in the Jungle Book:

What text are you preaching on this week?  I don’t know; what text are you preaching on this week?  I don’t know; what text are you preaching on this week?

Haven’t we already established that none of us know!?!

We laughed.  We scratched our heads.  We observed the smoke pouring from our ears – a consequence of extreme pastoral concentration.  And ultimately we enjoyed the community.  We remembered that even though we may feel all alone and isolated that we are not far from friends and family and persons that do truly know what you are going through at that exact moment.

That gift of community brought me peace.  And that peace gifted Sunday’s sermon.

*exhale*

I Peter 1:8 reads, “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribably and glorious joy.”  I believe this Scripture is true about my Savior.  “Blessed,” Jesus says, “are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29).  We have not seen him, but we love him and believe.  And when we struggle to believe or struggle to accomplish an act of faith, we turn to that community that brings us joy, which is a reminder of our own joy in Christ.  I have not seen Sarah in over three years.  I have not seen Dan since February of this year, but it feels like so much longer!  For me, they are part of my community – a community to commiserates together and celebrates together, a community that embraces the struggles and successes of living out our salvation, a community that does not always see one another, but loves one another dearly and believes in one another sincerely.  That love and belief gifts indescribable and glorious joy, which is a reflection of the indescribable and glorious joy that is ours to hold because of our salvation in Christ.

Who is in your community?  Have you told them lately that you love and believe in them?  Take some time this week to do just that.  And experience the joy of it all.

Prayer: “Come, we that love The Lord, and let our joys be known; join in a song with sweet accord, and thus surround the throne.  Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heavenly King may speak their joys abroad.  Then let our songs abound, and every tear be dry; we’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground, to fairer worlds on high.”* Amen.

*”Come, We That Love The Lord,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 732.

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