My son danced with me the other day. I was trying to get ready for work and he went up to a toy that plays music and started a song. Then he ran over to me and grabbed my hand.
“Come on, daddy, dance!” he said while trying to pull me up. I got up and we danced. We danced while he laughed and I smiled. When the song was over he went to it again, played another song, and we danced again. For a second I wondered if that is what heaven is like… and maybe it is or maybe it isn’t, but I pray to my God the memory of that moment never leaves me. It has already been my fuel for joy in moments of need.
A couple of weeks ago we had some crazy weather. It was cold and stormy during the night and when I woke up there was ice everywhere. The lawn was white and shiny, the puddles were frozen over, and the trees looked like huge snowflakes. I went outside to get into my car and go somewhere but I couldn’t. The scenery grabbed me, and even though I don’t like the cold I walked around my neighborhood just to see everything.
Some of the trees looked like they were out of dreams, they were unreal, and yet there they were and I was looking at them, and they were beautiful. At one point I noticed my breath, each exhale billowing out of my lungs and hanging in the air. All together I was overcome and just stopped in the street and prayed because it was all I knew to do. I prayed and I’m not even sure what I prayed. I wondered if God would show up and if I’d see God’s breath, too … I never did, but I pray to my God the memory of that moment never leaves me. It has already been my fuel for joy in moments of need.
I went to a “country” church for the Presbytery’s pulpit exchange this year. I say “country” because that is what it was. After three years in this place I am still a bit shocked that God has called me here. We showed up early and parked in the lawn because there was nowhere else to park. The church was very small, and the only things around it were fields and singlewide trailers. I had no idea what to expect. The service started and that little church was packed with people and the Spirit. Children ran around without any regard for anything but joy.
My son sat behind the pulpit with me with a little bag of candy he ended up spilling all over during the sermon. Afterwards the church had prepared a massive meal. There were at most maybe 50 of us there, and there was enough food for 150. And as I sat there eating plate after plate I realized something. I may be a kid from California and there I was in Blakely, Ga., but we all have the same God and God was there … and somehow I knew I was home, but I pray to my God the memory of that moment never leaves me. It has already been my fuel for joy in moments of need.
A couple of weeks ago, the session and deacon board got together and went on a retreat. It’s been three years since I first had the session on a retreat where there were only six people there. Now we have 18 elected officers working together to figure out what our church will do for the next five years. We ate together, worshipped together, and worked together, and I saw it. Life where some thought there was only death, life and life abundant. I understand the resurrection and its power better because of our church.
I love my God and what my God can do more because of our little church. And as I watched all these different people work together for the greater good I saw God… maybe not in person but working among us, and I pray to my God the memory of that moment never leaves me. It has already been my fuel for joy in moments of need.
What is your fuel for joy in moments of need? All around us there is reason for joy. The cynic would point out that there is also reason for despair, but I would counter there are only reasons to have people who offer fuel for joy so that joy abounds. To those who are hurting and in need, we must become their fuel for joy!
God offers a world so full of beauty, a life filled with surprise, and moments of inspiration to each of us with the express intent that we in turn offer the world what God has given us — joy!