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…for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

Our vision at the Sun Prairie United Methodist Church is, “To be a welcoming home where we share God’s love.”

I see that vision lived out in many ways in the life of our faith community. In the last couple of weeks it has been most visible as we have shared God’s love with those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Last week we hosted a large memorial service for a beloved teacher and coach in our community and a couple of weeks ago we had a funeral for a long-time member of our church.

Anytime we have a funeral or memorial service at our church, staff and volunteers come together to share God’s love in tangible ways through many elements of hospitality, such as having water and coffee available during the visitation; setting up extra tables and chairs for the service and the luncheon; setting and decorating the tables, arranging for the lunch and then serving the lunch and cleaning up afterwards. There are the arrangements to prepare for the worship service, such as preparing the bulletins, putting the service together and technology support; and the list goes on.

All this is done as a way of serving others and sharing God’s love, with the strength and joy of God to guide the way. Joy is about rejoicing and being grateful and strength is about offering a place of safety and being a stronghold. The ‘joy of the Lord’ is a reason to rejoice and be thankful and stems from the inner strength that comes from our relationship with God.

It is our attitude and gratitude toward life that brings us joy in our life and faith. It is a blessing to serve with others and share the joy of God as our strength with those who grieve. May we continue to serve in our daily lives until the joy and strength of God becomes our joy and strength.