Seventh Sunday of Easter

Readings – Acts 1:15-17,21-26; Psalm 1; I John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

Hymn #100 

Joy to the world! The Lord is come; let earth receive 
her king; let every heart prepare him room, and
heaven and nature sing…

We were created for joy. 

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let our songs
employ, while fields and floods, rocks hills and plains,
repeat the sounding joy…

We were created for joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest
the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far
as the curse is found…

We were created for joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the
nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders
of his love…

We were created for joy.

Donald Stanley, who created our musician’s endowment fund and is now among the heavenly hosts, entered into great joy every time he went to the Mostly Mutts shelter in Northumberland to walk some of the boarded dogs, and he also took a pocket full of animal crackers to share with the others. 

Ruth and Bart Ryan raised dogs for the Blind Association in New Jersey to be companion dogs.  They enjoyed spending about a year with each dog before handing them off to be united with their forever companions.

Our neighbors Jeff and Karen currently care for Sunni, an abused German Sheperd, providing her with a safe, caring home while sharing with her their life and their joy. 

We were created for joy, and we were created to share joy.

In his last evening with his disciples, Jesus said:

I speak these things… so that [the disciples] may have my joy made complete in themselves…

As you [God] have sent me into the world, so I have sent them…

We are created for joy, and we are sent into the world to share the joy.  We are not to retreat; we are not to retire; we are to advance; we are to serve with joy!

Today’s Psalm provides us the key to living joyfully.  He writes:

Blessed are they…                                                                                                                          They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in                                       due season, with leaves that do not wither…

…trees planted by streams of water…

Today we remember one of those streams, our mothers.  During the Prayers of the People, I encourage all to voice their mother’s by name during the invitation to give thanks, for those still among us and for those who are now among the saints.  Their continuing streams of love support our continuing joy.

In Holy Scripture we find in three of our gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, this story that I think is overlooked in our lectionary.

While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him.  Someone told him, “Look, you mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting  to speak to you.”  But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  And pointing to his disciples he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  

Matthew 12: 46-50

The streams of life giving water have just been widened and deepened to include all those who live as the prayer guides us,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

As we look around us today, here, we see our current extended family of sisters, brothers, mothers who provide us with the life-giving water that enables us                   

…to bear fruit in due season with leaves that do not wither…

That enable us to live into the joy for which we were created, that enable us to share the joy for which we were created. 

One additional thought about living into the joy, and about sharing the joy.

This is Don Stanley walking the dogs at Mostly Mutts.

This is Ruth and Bart raising dogs for the Blind Association.

This is Jeff and Karen giving a caring home to Sunni.

This is the eternal life God gave us, and continues to give us; “This is life in his Son”. 

Embrace joy; share the joy, and participate in eternal life here and now.

Drink deeply of the streams of life-giving water.


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