Refresh my heart: Take a moment for joy

Something about the approach of Lent always draws my heart to the liturgical ministers, catechists, pastoral staff, priests, etc who find their time commitments and demands ramping up at a season when they know they need extra nourishment and refreshment. (Advent, on the other hand, is more equal-opportunity exhaustion for everyone!)

Last year, I wrote this prayer; this year, I’d like to offer a Monday series of short reflections to refresh the heart of professionals and volunteers. I’d like the comments to stay equally uplifting, so for this one set of posts, please comment only in charity with your fellow readers.

 

Lord, refresh my heart

 

I’m going to start by reflecting on the simplest and most important service all ministers do for the Body of Christ, even though we often forget to take note of it:

We take joy in our service.

 

Need proof? Watch these guys for a few minutes.

I never tire of watching these men make music. They stayed up all night to make that video, apparently. They do not look tired to me. And if you want to see their music bring others to life, watch the Charlie Brown medley next.

I’m equally enthralled by this young man who flies kites indoors (which, by the way, I had never imagined possible until last week).

There’s something about watching someone take intense joy in their work that I have always found deeply moving. At my undergraduate university, there was one man who worked at the grill across campus who clearly loved to make a good Philly cheese steak. He did it with an intense, enraptured precision, and he handed it to you with satisfaction. I used to go to lunch there when I was feeling overwhelmed just for the pleasure of watching him make a sandwich. (I admit, they were also delicious.)

Seeing someone else’s love for what they do opens up a little bit of God’s creation that would otherwise be closed to me, a little bit of God’s love for the world that I would otherwise overlook. J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythology in The Silmarillion suggests that the angels, hearing one another’s songs, are able to perceive parts of the mind of God that no one of them can perceive alone, and here in the communion of saints, we are bound to do the same for one another.

That’s the task of ministry: you perceive something by the work of the Holy Spirit and you have the opportunity to show others its beauty. You likely don’t realize that before your words, or your catechetical presentation, or your perfect preparation, or your musical talent (or lack thereof) there is a silent witness to the glory of God in your joy.

6 comments

  1. “That’s the task of ministry: you perceive something by the work of the Holy Spirit and you have the opportunity to show others its beauty. You likely don’t realize that before your words, or your catechetical presentation, or your perfect preparation, or your musical talent (or lack thereof) there is a silent witness to the glory of God in your joy.”

    Thank you!!! That was something I needed to hear.

  2. The Piano Guys video is a wow. The one in the nursing home is just delightful. Exuberance as well as skill. Joy. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Kimberly – what a lovely reflection. Your words,”the angels, hearing one another’s songs, are able to perceive parts of the mind of God that no one of them can perceive alone, and here in the communion of saints, we are bound to do the same for one another”- are a reminder that we do the liturgy together, none of it is a solo. Even the work of Lent – much of which is carried out while we are dispersed rather than gathered in the assembly – we do together as the church.

  4. Sitting here wrapping up our curriculum for Lent, worrying about who’s going to show up, who’s going to read ….. I wander over here. Thank you for the reflection and reminders.

  5. Linda, Angela, and Jeff – may God send you inner rest, and perhaps a Philly cheese steak, but not on a day of abstinence!

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