Week 19 Friday

Sounds of Joy and Gladness

Today’s scripture selection: Jeremiah 32-36

Key verses: Jeremiah 33:10-11

One of my favorite things to do is work with the young children of the congregation I serve as pastor.

Oh, from time to time, they get a little out of hand.  They get a little carried away; there is the occasional “meltdown” when one of them doesn’t get his or her way.  They are, after all, human children – and that’s human nature.  But, most of the time – they are a pure joy to be around.

And, that’s the sound they often make – sounds of joy and gladness.

They laugh, snort, and cackle for all their worth.  It doesn’t take much to get them going.  A silly joke; a funny face; a surprise treat; a well-played game.  They go at it with complete abandon.  And that is something that we adults sometimes find it difficult to do.

Burdened by all of our “adult” responsibilities; worried over all we have to do or all we have done that we shouldn’t have – it gets us down – and it’s hard to smile – much less “cavort”.

But, the Bible often reminds us that we should laugh, and sing, and give thanks, and make sounds of joy and gladness – often.

Even in the midst of judgment, a merciful God promises restoration.  That was the case when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to his people about both judgment and hope.

So, yes, life can be difficult – very difficult.

It’s only natural that you will, at times, find little to laugh about.

But, try to find it.  Try to find the mercy hidden in the judgment; the grace hidden in the pain; the hope hidden in the sorrow.

And when you find it – make sounds of joy and gladness.

After all, you’re a child of God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me the ability to find joy even in a world filled with pain.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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