I remember almost 11 years ago this August, my oldest nephew was born. The whole family was beside it’s self with joy over the beautiful new little baby boy in the family. Bill and I rushed over to the hospital the moment we got the go ahead from my brother to come. We were asked to stop and pick my sister-in-law up a ham grinder from Family Pizza on our way there. When we arrived, I traded the grinder for the baby and I remember how fragile he felt in my arms. I also remember just the depth of love I felt for him in those very first moments. I remember wondering what type of person he would grow to be.
I didn’t want to share him with anyone else. He slept so soundly there in my arms. My brother and his wife looked so tired. And I felt like the whole world was blessed because of this new little life and none of our lives have ever been the same. I’m sure many of you have been in the same situation at some point and if you haven’t you have had those times in your life when you have known the blessings of God, the joy of the holy was alive and being lived out in those moments.
Joy, it is a form of rejoicing, my family gave thanks to God the day that my nephew was born. We gave thanks that he had come into the world safely and that everyone was healthy. It was a day to give thanks for. It was a joyous day. Sometimes God brings us gifts. Sometimes we are allowed the opportunity to see God’s hand in our lives and to feel his joy overpowering all the insecurities and fears of life.
Sometimes we feel and know that the Lord has filled our cups and the cup of our faith has overflowed with his love and care. It is times like this that we need to hold on to. To cherish and to remember because there will also be those days when we really need to feel his presence. There will those days when it is hard to sing our praises to his name because we can’t feel him or we are feeling the pain that comes with life. The joyous moments will fill us and we should cherish those moments and carry that joy with us where ever we go.
Our scriptures for this morning from the second book of Samuel deal with this joy. David was singing for joy, dancing and celebrating for all that the Lord had done for him and for his people. He offered up many sacrifices to the Lord to ensure that not only the people of Israel recognized that he had been blessed but to show gratitude towards God and to engrave those moments upon his memory in the hopes that his joy and love might last forever. He hoped that the memory of those moments would be strong enough to remind him of God’s faithfulness when life brought about challenges.
So often we pray to God when life’s challenges mount up but forget to lift our voices in those moments of great joy and celebration. Joy and celebration is a form of thanksgiving for God’s blessings in those moments. We are blessed. We each are. We each have those days that just can’t seem to get any better, days when you just know that God’s hand has been at work: days where we have been given a moment of peace.
In 2007, when Jackson was born I got one of my first glimpses of just how deep and healing those moments can be. Life has certainly posed me with challenges since then and I expect that those challenges will continue to come. But I know that whatever challenges and struggles I meet. They cannot overcome the work of the Lord in my life and in this world because since that moment I have known that God has blessed me and my loved ones. He will keep me close to him no matter how I may struggle, no matter how I may cry and mourn from time to time, no matter what challenges I face.
I am reminded that my soul is like a cup of faith. The Lord will fill it when it needs to be filled and life will use what is in that cup. But I believe and trust that the Lord is carrying me through this world, through all of my experiences and every moment of my life is meant to be used for something. Joy for the building of faith and for reminding me that I am watched over, sorrow to build my character and strength and to remind me to cherish and appreciate the world around me, and love to remind me that I do not travel this life alone. I was once told by a mentor that he could see God at work in my life and that all my experiences were being used to shape who I was going to be. The cups of our souls overflow, we are loved, we are valued, and we are needed by our Lord and for this we are called to live our praises to God’s name.
Do you see God at work in your lives? Can you feel his presence and the touch of his hand upon your hearts? Is there a moment, a day, a week or a month when you knew that God was blessing you and your family? David knew it when he saw it. I experienced it and was aware of it as I held that little baby. When did this happen for you? As we go forth into another week, we are being challenged to sit down and remember a time when we felt this joy, the blessings of the Lord and to write it down. I challenge you to write about those moments in detail or to share the details of it with a friend or family member, relive those moments. Feel the joy and give thanks and show God your continued gratitude for his presence. Allow for the memories to strengthen you, to guide you, and to fill your souls with faith. This morning we read about joy and gratitude and we are being challenged to feel the healing and wholeness that comes when we feel joy and when we give thanks. So I leave you with the words of our scriptures, “David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals”. Be like David and let your souls sing in your joy. Allow your actions in life to reflect the joy that you have in the Lord because how we live life lets others know the joy we have experienced. The Hopi, Native American Tribe, have a proverb that I think fits this so succinctly, “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak”. Can others hear the songs of joy on your hearts?
 2 Samuel 6: 5, NRSV.
(Based on Samuel 6: 1-5, 12-19 and Ephesians 1: 3-14)