Last Sunday we had our annual BBQ and service to mark the end of the formal Sunday School program for the summer. The energy in the sanctuary was wonderful as the children joined in dancing through the songs, engaging in the story times, sharing in prayer and, in doing so, invited us all into a space of joyful abandon. I had reinforced my ability to multitask. I know now that I can click the slides, sing and engage in balloon toss all at the same time. I can also pray while having balloons thrown at my head!
An Amazing Start to the Week
This was an amazing start to the week and has been a source of joy for me each day. Sitting at my desk, driving to the next appointment, engaging in the business of the church, wherever I have been these last couple of days the sound of children laughing and playing, the vision of my faith family smiling and doing the actions for “Jesus’ Love is a Bubbling Over” have grounded me and reminded me of the joy that is the gospel of Jesus.
I believe that this kind of gathering is vitally important for our spiritual well being. So much of life is filled with the harder things and we can easily become bogged down in negativity. Such times of worship are what, for me, become the thing that enables me to have strength to deal with the difficulties. They help me to remember what ministry is about – community, love, joy, hope, inclusion, foolishness, family. I don’t know about you but I certainly need this reminder from time to time. So much happens in the run of a day or week or a month that can fill us with anxiety, grief, aloneness, uncertainty that it is easy to get lost in the midst of it. Moments of laughter and joy, of allowing spirit to take over, can restore in a way that nothing else can.
Balloons Belong In Church
Balloons have always been a sign of celebration for me and a simple balloon can ignite a playfulness that causes me to embrace the joy and possibilities of life. Now, I know that there are many who might say that balloons are not safe for the environment, that they can be a choking hazard for children if popped and others things that might raise concerns or negativity. Early in my ministry I presided over a service where balloons were everywhere and one popping apparently sent someone into an angina attack. But still….. I love balloons and the power they hold to touch my heart and rearrange my world view include silliness, colour, love and joy! And I believe that they certainly belong in church.
Ann Weems, wrote a piece called “Balloons Belong In Church”. In it she shares these words:
The Scriptures say there’s a time to laugh and a time to weep. It’s not hard to see the reasons for crying in a world where hatred for one another is so manifest. So celebrate! Bring your balloons and your butterflies, your bouquets of flowers… Bring the torches and hold them high! Dance your dances, paint your feelings, sing your songs, whistle, laugh. Life is a celebration, an affirmation of God’s love. Life is distributing more balloons. For God so loved the world… Surely that’s a cause for Joy. Surely we should celebrate! Good News!
As you continue to move through this week my prayer for you is that you will take a moment to laugh, enjoy a moment of celebration, share a smile with a stranger for life is a gift.
Ecclesiastes 3: 12-13
“There is nothing better for us than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we live; to eat and drink and take pleasure from all our toil for this is God’s gift to us”.
© 2019 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved.