Nehemiah 8:10 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength”

Talk about mixed emotions – the Jewish exiles had finally returned home. They had just heard the scriptures read and explained for the first time in quite a while – and what did they do? They wept and mourned! Go figure. Four years ago today, Kathy and I “came home” to Pleasant Hill after two years away. We rejoiced to be back home on February 29 of 2020, the day of the first known Covid death in the USA – mixed emotions indeed. One of our first tasks was to cancel a homecoming dinner with some long time local friends. But back now to the returning exiles weeping and mourning. God knew they needed to rejoice!. “No”, said God about the weeping and mourning, go organize a great feast and be sure to send “takeout” for those unable to attend. And all were strengthened by having heard the word of the Lord and by knowing that this brought joy to God’s own heart. I don’t believe this was a one-off experience. God rejoices every time we come to the scripture with understanding and gain strength from the combination of God’s word and knowing of God’s delight in our hearing of it. Hallelujah, we get to make God smile! As we approach the day of Resurrection this coming Easter day, maybe it’s time for some of you who have been MIA at worship to come home too. And for those who are here regularly, making God smile, encourage your friends to come back home too.

 Pastor Bill

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