At the end of a Trustees’ meeting the other evening one of the members observed a recent liveliness in the church. With the nursery school up and running the parish house is filled with the voices and laughter of children. Since the Neighborhood Music School began offering lessons in our church the sounds of stringed instruments have become part of the air we breathe in the afternoon. Anya Powers has joined us as our Yale Divinity School intern. The Choir is back in full swing and excitement about our upcoming Festival of Arts and Music is growing by the day (October 19-21). And, at last Sunday’s worship service an important announcement was made: just hours earlier Ryder, newest child of Keri and Jim Rosson, had taken his first breath. God is so good to us! Yes, there is a renewed energy, a new spirit in our church. It is all inspired by the Holy Spirit, no doubt. It is absolutely wonderful. It is full of delight!
Webster defines the noun delight in this way: a high degree of gratification or pleasure; something that gives great pleasure; and, in an archaic sense, the power of affording pleasure. Delight is also a verb: to take great pleasure; to give keen enjoyment. Its first known use was in the 13th century. It comes from the Latin delectare, to allure.
In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible – the translation we use in the pulpit – the word delight occurs 81 times in the Old Testament and 2 in the New. God delights in God’s people. Israel delights in the law of the Lord. Israel will become the land of delight. God delights in steadfast love, justice and righteousness. However, those who stomp on the poor, steal from the widow, abuse the foreigner and forsake the land; in other words, those who delight in breaking the law of love, in them God takes no pleasure. The crowds listened to Jesus with delight and the Apostle Paul took delight in the law of God in his inmost self.
The other day I was having breakfast with a community leader when he used the phrase, the duty of delight. It struck me like the clear, crisp sound of a crystal bell. The sound of the phrase itself was plea-surable: duty of delight. Not only are we to delight in the beauty of the world, in relationships, and God’s love; but it is our job, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to create communities and landscapes and opportunities in which others may delight. So let’s make places, spaces and communities where people are safe from physical harm, can speak their minds and not suffer the poison of gossip or slander. Let’s do this by recognizing the beauty God puts before us every day; and let us wonder at the mystery of life, and each person God has planted on this earth. Let us delight every time the truth is told, evil confronted and a loving world envisioned. There are so many other ways we can open our live and the lives of others as well: enjoy and share music, poetry, literature and art; listen to others without being judgmental, take a walk, visit, laugh, play cards, cook good food, have dreams……. and hope, hope, hope for the day when Jesus returns, bringing the Realm of Joy with him.
There is so much going on at church in which to delight. Come and see it, taste it, feel it, experience it. Come worship with us. Join us as we delight in God’s presence and take great pleasure in God’s delight in each one of us. After all, it’s our duty.
In the greatest confidence that God’s Realm of Love and Justice is just around the corner,