Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
“…my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; …You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy…” -Psalms 16:9-11
I’ve known what it is to be poor-no money, no idea where the next meal would come from. We’ve never been rich (in money) but we’ve had enough and to spare. A family member divorced, but happier days came. Poor health has visited us and will likely come again. We always looked forward to “joy cometh in the morning.”
Jesus’ friend Lazarus was dying. Though summoned, Jesus didn’t arrive till four days after Lazarus took his last breath. Everyone was distraught. Jesus calmly said, “He is not dead-he only sleeps.” When Jesus called Lazarus to come forth, he did! Talk about joy! Through every step in life, God has been ahead of us, around and within. We’ve known what it is be awakened by the Spirit and find joy again.
Remember your baptism? I remember mine! I was baptized in an irrigation ditch. My dad had to baptize me twice as a dear soul on the bank declared my forehead didn’t go under. All I remember thinking was, I had gone down in the water and all my eight years of sinning were forgiven. I felt tremendous joy. I was ready to set the world on fire, to study, to spend time in prayer-whatever it took to be a child of God.
I remember times past when I was very happy. My joy overflowed. Not just when I married this wonderful guy of mine, or when we were blessed with five beautiful children, or when the grand’s came along, then the great-grands. My heart also skips a beat when I see a beautiful sunset, rainbows, rays coming through clouds, waves rolling in from the ocean. I feel joy watching a dog jump around in play, making quilts, baking cookies to give away, visiting someone and encouraging them, singing at World Conference with thousands of people.
Instead of allowing dwindling congregations to die, let’s wake them up again-bring souls to Christ, look beyond the horizon to which we have been called. Let’s wake up our generosity, our peace, our calm, our imagination, our willingness to be present for others. Deep in the heart of each of us lies an undeniable faith. Let’s wake it up! Wake up the joy of the gospel-the joy of life. Wake up Christ’s mission. Wake up the Spirit which we felt so strongly when we were baptized. Today, find joy!
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.