“Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” – Psalm 81:1
As we continue our focus on joy in the month of July, I couldn’t help but notice that the 19 people who were ordained as Salvation Army Officers (with the title/rank of lieutenant) on July 1 were known as the ‘joyful intercessors’.
These 19 women and men from all over Canada have made a pledge to God and to the Salvation Army to be clergy, also known as officers, for as long as they are working. That’s quite a commitment. These people are the future of Salvation Army clergy in Canada.
The thing I love most is they have decided to call themselves ‘joyful’, meaning that no matter what they face in their lives and in their ministries, they will do it rejoicing.
That’s just plain beautiful!
This past week I had opportunity to spend some unplanned time with an old friend of mine. We ran into each other quite by accident, or might I say providentially.
During one of our talks, he told me that while he was out for a walk he had an incredibly profound encounter with someone. He was at the local Tim Hortons just enjoying his treat when an elderly woman came up to him and asked if he were new there. They began chatting very deeply about life and about God. He discovered that she was a retired united church minister. At the end of the conversation he asked if she had one word of advice to him as he works to find balance as a middle-aged father as well as a person developing a new business.
Apparently she did not skip a beat and said to him very bluntly, ‘rejoice‘. She urged him to, in any circumstance, whatever he finds himself doing, to do it with joy in his heart. He felt as though this were a word from God to both challenge and encourage him.
As he told me this he had tears in his eyes, which got me kind of choked up as well. For me it was mainly because I have been focusing on the concept of joy so much these past weeks and this word to him did not seem to be coincidence. It felt as though it was a word from God to me as well.
With these ordained Salvation Army Officers, as well as this providential word from my long time friend, I feel as though God is challenging me to face the world with joy. And I feel as though God is challenging all of us to face everything we do rejoicing.
As we go about our work, no matter how hard it can get, let us face it with joy in our hearts. While we do that, let’s continue to strive to be “the hand of God in the heart of the city.”
Source of all Joy,
Help us to face the world rejoicing.
When we feel weak,
Let Your joy be our strength.
When we feel burnt out,
Let your joy renew us.
When we feel lost,
Let your joy guide our way.
When we feel confused,
Let your joy clear our thoughts.
When we feel empty,
Let your joy fill us.