Recently, I arrived home late at night from a trip, weary and exhausted from travel. Opening the door, I was startled by my tail-wagging dog, Honey, who pounced on me with boundless excitement and smothered my face with wet kisses. Her enthusiastic greeting filled me with laughter and delight. I concur with the poet Mary Oliver, who writes: “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.”
Joy is a gift we can receive from animals, such as the 10 month old canine who joined my family this year. We can also receive it from each other, as we come together to renew our spirits in community. But there is also a lot of work in relationships and living out our covenant together. As we come to the end of another church year, we may feel a sense of tiredness or burn out. We may wish for a time of rest.
Thankfully, our theme this month offers a time to simply be together and fill the well. Let us explore the theme of Joy with hearts wide open to the gifts of each Sunday service this month. May celebrations of flowers, animals, music, and the many gifts of life be shared in beloved community.
May the season before us teach us to open our eyes, lift our voices, and bound into the world like an unleashed dog, joyful and loving every new delight.