Paul Elwyn (Alberta’s favorite son-in-law)
Third Week of Advent: Joy
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him. Romans 15:13
Joy, in the context of church community, exists on many levels, and can be realized when least expected. Maureen and I were not formally searching for a new church community. We simply wanted to be with my favorite mother-in-law, Alberta, on the Mother’s Day Sunday, the 30th anniversary of Jim Moynahan’s death.
But we felt a peace during that service that we had not felt in some time. That peace in part came from hearing Lois play the pipe organ that sounds the same as the one my mother played for 70 years at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Illinois. That peace in part came from the uplifting service, the strength of congregational singing, the friendly banter between Tommy, Keith, and Phil, and the welcoming demeanor of Lexington Avenue Baptist Church.
As we visited Jim Moynahan’s grave in Springfield later that day, Maureen and I continued to feel the peace from church. Without having to make a decision, we have continued to worship at LABC. We derive joy from visiting with church family, from singing familiar and new hymns, and from experiencing the voices and instruments of worship.
We derive joy from simple messages regarding recently completed and upcoming events, from anticipating involvement in church life, from witnessing testimonials of faith, from readings and the lessons of scripture. We derive joy from the peace of worship, from the personal quiet that allows us to take a deep breath, to reflect, to pray, to give thanks for blessings.
Lexington Avenue Baptist Church does not hold exclusive rights to joy, of course; joy exists regardless of denomination and locale, but the joy we know is personal and unique, and resides at LABC.
We did not need to think through our feelings in joining LABC. We simply did what seemed natural and continue to feel peace and joy.
Prayer: Thank you, dear God, for the blessings of church community, for family, and for peace and joy. Amen