This morning I arrived in the Sanctuary as the choir was rehearsing, and between their joyous notes and the balloons at the front I knew we were in for a celebration. These last few weeks I've been especially yearning for church on Sundays and today it was definitely good to be in the house of the Lord.
Karen spoke to us today about Jeremiah. She told us how he was a prophet for years and years, and how when the nation was doing well Jeremiah was responsible to tell the king they were on the wrong path. And then at our point in the reading today, when things are grim, Jeremiah shows the people what hope looks like: he bought a field in soon-to-be occupied territory - and he showed people how to hold on to their hope in God's plan.
I've needed hope lately. It feels like the world is getting darker, and sometimes it feels like it's easier to see hate than love. But being in church always reminds me that we are God's people, we carry hope in Jesus Christ and we can trust God's good plan for us. Being in church reminds me that there are other people looking for what I'm looking for: connection with God. And being in church this morning, with the responsive readings, I appreciated hearing our voices raised together in unity, proclaiming what we believe in and refusing to give in to the darkness around us.
Jeremiah showed Baruch how to hold on to the deed claiming God's promise, to store it well and make sure it lasted through the years. This morning I felt the valuable gift God has given us in St. Andrew's church, and I understood why we need to work to make it last. Despite the difficulties around us, this Sunday church was a gratitude and hope-filled celebration, and that is a valuable gift.