JOY SUNDAY -
This past Sunday was the first time in years that I did not lead a Joy Sunday on the Sunday after Easter. It felt a bit odd. But as I sat with the congregation's position, their frustrations, hurt, confusion, anxiety, fears, and fragile finances, they were simply not in a place yet, to celebrate Joy Sunday. Make no mistake, I believe they need to celebrate Joy Sunday. They need to reconnect with the joy of their faith, with the joy that the Resurrection of our Lord brings to us and to the world. But, they are simply not there yet. I retain hope that they will come to that place.
It was especially apparent after the last council meeting even as I played with the idea of a modified Joy Sunday and my sermon.
I chose instead to focus on Thomas and the risen Christ in their midst, who tells them twice in this passage: "Peace be with you." God's Spirit drew me to those words of Christ's peace of forgiveness, peace of love, peace of the joy of his risen presence, peace of grace, peace of hope that I knew they needed to hear and be with.
It all went well. The paschal candle was lit without incident, communion went well with everything decent and in order and even all the hymns that were joyful and mentioned joy, all worked together very well. It was a good worship experience.
I look forward to celebrating Joy Sunday again, sometime, wherever I may be serving. And in the meanwhile, I will look to the joy of my faith and scatter joy wherever I serve in subtle and not so subtle ways. I will save the bottles of bubbles and kazoos and know there will be a time to come when
they will be used and needed.