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Saturday, April 25, 2020
All thy works with joy surround thee;
earth and heaven reflect thy rays;
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (v. 2) by Henry van Dyke
Hymn 611, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
One of the favorite hymns of the church, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, God of Glory, Lord of Love” brims with joy.
Yet in this season when the COVID pandemic has cut a dark swath through every nation worldwide, through every state of our union, leaving death and grief in its path, do these lyrics not seem hopelessly irrelevant and talk of resurrection blind?
The fact is, it has always been at the darkest times of our lives that we experience Christ’s light shining most brightly. Sometimes we need to sing songs of thanks and praise before we see any evidence that Christ is risen. Sometimes we need to “walk by faith and not by sight.”
Christians call this vision beyond the present darkness hope. Have we not seen Christ alive in the courage of medical workers who risk their lives to care for the sick? They are messengers of hope. Have we not seen Christ alive in the volunteers who give a smile and a meal to the homeless who have no place to gather? They are messengers of hope.
May we each see today an opportunity God is giving us to be messengers of hope and joy.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, thank you for not flinching from your cross but offering yourself up for us. May the same hope that kept you going through your darkest time fill us and make us messengers of hope to others. Amen.
Written by David Handley, Interim Minister for Pastoral Care
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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