From the Minister

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Dear Church Family,

Did you know that the most popular course at Yale is Professor of Psychology Laurie Santos’ “Psychology and the Good Life,” popularly known as the “happiness course.”  When it was offered online 1.5 million people signed up.  Clearly, there is  a hunger for happiness.  Some of her assignments are simple measures that are intended to create better habits: deleting social media accounts, daily meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, and investing time in loved ones.

The church has a big stake in people’s happiness though it more often focuses on “joy” rather than “happiness.”  Indeed, the Bible suggests joy (and happiness) is not so much a commodity that is sought as an end in itself.  Rather it is a byproduct of our commitment to serve God and neighbor, and developing habits (often similar, if more spiritually focused,  to Santos’ assignments) which would lead toward that goal.

A former parishioner would ask me frequently, “Why doesn’t the church speak more of joy?”   We hear a lot about sin, forgiveness, discipleship, faithfulness, hope, salvation and the like—why not more about joy?  It is a good question.

So this week we’re focusing on the 100th Psalm, a psalm of joy.  Our conversation will center on “Mirthful Christianity.”   The texts are Psalm 100 and Philippians 4:4-9.  We’ll be singing one of my favorite hymns, known as “the old 100th.”  And we’ll be celebrating communion.

I look forward to seeing you in church.

Peace and Joy

Rich 

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