What are you happy about?

Oregon Dawn in Spite of the News

A poem by Kim Stafford

Before I can get to our statistics — so many stricken, so many dead — I’m summoned

by the bird raising a ruckus outside, crows and jays in festive outrage, trill, chirr and aria

 from the little brown birds, the mournful dove, the querulous towhee, rusty starlings

in their see-saw mutter, and a woodpecker flicker hammering the gutter staccato.

On the porch, I’m assaulted by the merciless scent of trees opening their million flowers,

as I inhale the deep elixir of hazel, hawthorn, maple, and oh those shameless cherry trees.

And just when I’ve almost recovered my serious moment, I gasp, helpless to see

the full queen moon sidling down through a haze of blossoms.

There is much going on in the world that would weigh us down. COVID restrictions mean we are spending more time at home. That means many of us are spending more time glued to the 24-hour news feed on TV and/or on social media. Stafford’s poem calls us not only to notice the beauty that is all around us, but also to celebrate it.

In the spirit of Stafford’s poem, what are some things you have particularly enjoyed in the last month?

Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed this month:

Whether in-person or online, I am excited about the opportunity to share worship with you. It warms my heart and strengthens my spirit to see you again. I’m thankful that we were able to provide for worship online for 16 weeks, including Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. I am also thankful that we can continue online as we return to the sanctuary. Yes, there are still a few kinks in the system, but we’re working together and that, my friends, is a good thing.

I have always enjoyed family time, just the four of us together. A family vacation isn’t possible this summer, but that doesn’t have to limit our ability to make the best of our time together. This summer, as Mary and I refreshed our skills at Canasta, we taught the game to Sarah and Daniel.

Warmer weather means firing up the grill to prepare burgers, chicken, salmon, sweet corn or squash and enjoying dinner on our back deck.  It was a joy to be surrounded by flowers and see three birds frolicking in the air space between our heads and a large Maple tree in our yard.

The constant generosity of the congregation continues to spread joy, not just for ourselves, but for the lives of those we touch. This was evident as Outreach loaded up the juice boxes and bottles for the Hope Center. We may be few in worship, but thanks to your generosity, a whole lot of children will receive a refreshing drink with their bag lunch. Thank you!

I am thankful for all this and more. Gratitude brings me to joy. I am thankful for each, and every, reminder that the sun still shines and God still reigns. Praise God!

With all the bad news around, what are you happy about? What have you enjoyed in the last month?  What strengthened your spirit? Think on those things. Share them with others. Extend the good news.

The path ahead is uncertain. What we can be sure of is that God is with us through it all. We read in Paul’s letter to the Romans:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now, that’s something that brings me joy.

Is there a scripture or sermon topic you would like me to address sometime soon? A question about God or the church, that you would like an answer for?  What is it? Send me a note by mail or email, revbobgross@gmail.com. I’ll let you know when my response will be addressed in a sermon.