This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24
I remember singing at a coastal church camp …
This is the day, This is the day,
That the Lord hath made, That the Lord hath made.
Let us rejoice, let us rejoice, and be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it,
This is the day that the Lord hath made…
Reading these lines pulls me back to the sand and surf, the wind and waves, and friends whose faith still blesses me. There is a wistful sadness as well knowing that camp was closed this summer; the activity center, quiet, except for the seagull shrieks.
The Psalmist writes of a powerful truth – today is a gift from God, given to each of us. The complications of life, especially now, underscore the choice which we must daily make to embrace the gift, by rejoicing in the opportunities and being glad for what we have been given. The Psalmist understood what I often forget: making these choices is a spiritual practice, not an accident of emotion. It is a decision made in faith and exercised in gratitude.
Scientists have recently learned that practicing gratitude actually increases dopamine in your brain. Dopamine, they have learned, isn’t itself a “feel good hormone,” but it helps motivate us toward things that make us feel good and away from things that don’t (“motivational salience” for those who want to dive deeper). Scientifically speaking, the more you are grateful for, the more you move toward activity you will be grateful for. As Jesus promised, “To those who have, more will be given.”
I am aware of how many people continue to give of their time for the ministry of God through this congregation. The Creation Care team, led by Mark Robinson, continues to care for our grounds, making space for parishioners and others to reflect. They recently received two grants which will allow 50% more trees to be given away in the fall. Those working on behalf of young children in poverty, led by Deacon Jackie Whitfield and Hilary Smith, have been working not only on facility upgrades to serve children here at All Saints’ but also on developing community partnerships. This work has also been bolstered by a grant from the Cannon Charitable Trust and by community budget appropriations.
The pandemic precludes an in-person Tour de Saints, so Ragan Kearns and his team have developed a virtual model and partnered with Don Foskey, Outreach Chair, to elevate the food drive which has always been present but is so important now.
The Pastoral Care Team, led by Barbara Horne-Stead, along with Stephen Ministers, Vestry and staff continue to reach out in care and compassion, tending and attending to parishioners and their families. In turn, they are providing listening ears, caring hearts and where appropriate willing hands in their neighborhoods. The blessings continue to multiply through the faithfulness and dedication of so many.
I am thankful for the love and care of those who volunteered their time for camp so many years ago. I am thankful that I was able to have time at the beach this year. I am thankful for those whose work here made it possible for me to be away, especially Nancy Hunter our Senior Warden. To God be the glory.
+The Rev. Nancy L. J. Cox, Rector