Voice of the vestry: Be joyful and let your light shine

By Jeff Tibbits

Every day is the day to portray a message of hope, love, and joy at Grace. HOPE –it’s a powerful word. Some of you may know this word as an acronym: Hold On; Pray Expectantly.  So what does the Bible tell us about hope?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12: 12)

JOY. JOYFUL. REJOICE! These are words that describe one’s state of being in gladness of heart or one expressing being in such a state of exuberant bliss granted to one by the grace and power of our Holy Spirit.  What does the Bible tell us about joy, being joyful, and rejoicing? In a word: lots. Here’s a sampling:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy.  Psalm 34:5a

My wife Christine’s term of endearment for me is “Sunshine,” which I pray that I am able, with God’s help, to portray to her and the world even on a cloudy day. I believe that by portraying the abundant light and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and our Holy Spirit who joyfully dwell within each and every one of us, we can share and spread God’s message of love with others throughout our communities through acts as simple as smiling, saying hello, and reaching out to lend a helping hand.

For those who attended Grace’s second quarterly meeting of 2017 this past Sunday, we pray that we portrayed a message of hope, love, and joy to you. Our church finances are in fine shape, thanks to the generosity of several members and members’ families. And we have our 150th anniversary to celebrate—let’s party, be joyful! Sure, Grace faces challenges: our plumbing is a mess, our roof leaks, the search for our new rector will take a while longer, but as James writes in his epistle:

Brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1: 2-4

 As for this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine big time with the help of the Holy Spirit and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please join me today and every day in shining forth in hope, love, and joy and in this prayer for our new rector:

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on Grace Episcopal Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen