Running through the Psalms is like running through the thistles.
My dog likes to find the thistle weeds, so I’m reminded of the metaphor almost daily. When doggie Dax comes in with thistles I know she’s been to one of her favorite digs in the overgrown fence garden. Exhilarated to be a terrier with digging instinct she plows forward to her own demise. When Dax comes in the door she beelines for the couch and begs us unburden her from the burs. And we do.
Like thistles we encounter some rough emotional times discussed in the Psalms. “How Long, O Lord?” is the trumpet call for a long suffering rant. Read enough of these chapters and you may want to ask a licensed therapist, “Is the Psalmist depressed?”
Even when the thistles of life depress us, the Bible says we can have joy always. The Psalms often blanket the hard times statements with flowery faith. “But I have sure faith that I will experience the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!” (ps 27:13, ceb) Can we, also, learn how to find joy-filled thoughts in the midst of the worst times?
In our new Sunday worship series we are Following Jesus with the footsteps outlined in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruits of the Spirit. This Sunday we move to the footstep of Joy. It’s not an easy step of discipleship for me or you. But come Sunday we’ll work on knowing joy no matter what life brings us.
Our Mission to the Harvey Flood Victims will conclude with a trip to the Midwest Distribution Center on Thursday (Sept. 14). I’m going myself to see the condition of our United Methodist relief ministry as well as to joyfully contribute our donations. If you have any items for a flood bucket (list attached below) or a complete bucket bring it to the church. We’ll dedicate what we have on Sunday. So far we have 6 filled buckets.
Good News - The milkweed plant has been designated as the State of Illinois’ wildflower! Violets are still the state flower, but as a protected wildflower the milkweed will continue to draw and sustain monarch butterflies. Look on the monarch butterfly as God’s joy-filled blessing on this earth. Thank God for the creature and the disciples, whose mission to protect this species has achieved state wide success.
I don’t have to imagine what God can do with those who believe, I see it everywhere I go. That’s what gives me joy. What’s your happy thought?
Blessings, Pastor Nancy Rethford