Pastor's Letter - November
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
Are you happy? I’m genuinely curious about how you define that. Is happiness about security? In an earthly sense, that would be about having enough. Enough money, enough space, enough insurance, enough to take care of yourself and those you love if things went in a bad direction for you. Chances are that if something happened, that would have a negative affect on your happiness. So maybe security is desired, but not something that gives happiness.
Do you have friends and family? Is that what makes us happy? Perhaps at times, but we also know that from time to time, being human, our friends and our family have indeed disappointed us. Of course, that is ignoring the fact that, likely, you have done something in your life at some point that has disappointed someone who loves you. So while friends and family can certainly make us happy, they don’t always make us happy. Hopefully, the happiness outweighs the other stuff.
What about things you have? Do you have things that evoke good memories? Do you have something that lets you take part in an activity you enjoy? Do you have a heated pool? If so, can I come over sometime? (Kidding!)
The whole reason I’m talking about sources of happiness is that, according to a study that just came out in early October, Americans have been growing increasingly unhappy. It’s not a recent phenomenon either- it has been growing for decades. This unhappiness includes reports of depression and mental stress, but it also includes things like bodily aches and pains. In 2011, there was a survey conducted about aches and pains, and 34% of Americans asked reported that yes, there was some kind of ache or pain that they were feeling. This led the world. Australia wasn’t far behind at 32%, just in case you were curious.
We live in a time where we have more available at our fingertips than at any time in history. We have technology that can connect us to each other. Yet we as a culture are growing increasingly unhappy.
It is a spiritual sickness. In Jesus’ time, it was likely as bad or worse. There was an understanding in that time that spiritual wellness and physical health were linked- something still believed by most doctors, by the way. In that day, if you were physically unhealthy, people believed that God was angry with you- and so they tended to avoid you.
It is just those people that Jesus spent time with. Those who were left behind, those who didn’t have a friend, those who felt like they had no hope- those were the people Jesus met with face to face.
I hope that this newsletter finds you happy. If it doesn’t though- and give yourself permission to be as you are, not as others expect- know that Jesus is with you. Know that Jesus wants you to experience the happiness that comes from knowing him. And knowing that, do something spiritually fulfilling. We have a lot going on here that can make that a part of your wellness. We have meals to serve, Bible Studies to explore, children who need to know that there are guiding hands willing to help them. Open yourself to God’s goodness and let that, above everything else, give you a happiness that transcends this world.
See you along the way, Pastor Brian