Serendipitous Joy

I am driving home from church this past Sunday, and as I make my way through the lower end of my neighborhood, I see what looks like checkerboards bouncing around down the street from me. As I get closer, I realize that the checkerboards are actually people … people who are all wearing identical pajamas … a family of five, in which mom and dad, and their three kids (including what I think is a teenage girl) are all wearing identical sets of pajamas. And they are dancing in their driveway … without a care in the world … laughing their butts off. I wanted to stop, but I don’t know them. It would be creepy to interrupt their celebration, whatever the precipitous cause that brought it about. So I just smile, and drive home with the image of the five of them dancing in their driveway min their PJ’s … five checkerboards celebrating life. I think about them off and on for the rest of the day. And I find myself smiling … a lot. There are lots of things going on these days that cause us stress, and bring us down. Just turn on the TV, and you will see more bad news than you could ever imagine. But nestled in the cracks in the sidewalks of this bad news, are little green sprouts growing, which suggest that God has not given up on us, despite how bad things may look. God never gives up on the people of God. God is always on the side of life … always reminding us that evil will never be victorious … always the champion for goodness and hope and life. So, as you start the day today, why not try looking at the world through a different set of eyes. Eyes that see God in the hidden places of your world … inviting you to laugh. Eyes that see God in locations that surprise you, challenging you to recognize the joy that is all around you. Eyes that acknowledge a God that never lets evil and darkness and sin prevail. Eyes that see God in the beauty of the natural world. You don’t need dancing checkerboards to get you started. Just look at some trees, or the clouds in the sky. Or consider turning your eyes to the manger in Bethlehem, and the new world God offers to us through the baby born to Mary.
I am driving home from church this past Sunday, and as I make my way through the lower end of my neighborhood, I see what looks like checkerboards bouncing around down the street from me.  As I get closer, I realize that the checkerboards are actually people … people who are all wearing identical pajamas … a family of five, in which mom and dad, and their three kids (including what I think is a teenage girl) are all wearing identical sets of pajamas.  And they are dancing in their driveway … without a care in the world … laughing their butts off.

I wanted to stop, but I don’t know them.  It would be creepy to interrupt their celebration, whatever the precipitous cause that brought it about.  So I just smile, and drive home with the image of the five of them dancing in their driveway min their PJ’s … five checkerboards celebrating life.  I think about them off and on for the rest of the day.  And I find myself smiling … a lot.

There are lots of things going on these days that cause us stress, and bring us down.  Just turn on the TV, and you will see more bad news than you could ever imagine.  But nestled in the cracks in the sidewalks of this bad news, are little green sprouts growing, which suggest that God has not given up on us, despite how bad things may look.  God never gives up on the people of God.  God is always on the side of life … always reminding us that evil will never be victorious … always the champion for goodness and hope and life.

So, as you start the day today, why not try looking at the world through a different set of eyes. Eyes that see God in the hidden places of your world … inviting you to laugh.  Eyes that see God in locations that surprise you, challenging you to recognize the joy that is all around you.  Eyes that acknowledge a God that never lets evil and darkness and sin prevail.  Eyes that see God in the beauty of the natural world.  You don’t need dancing checkerboards to get you started.  Just look at some trees, or the clouds in the sky.  Or consider turning your eyes to the manger in Bethlehem, and the new world God offers to us through the baby born to Mary.

Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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