KOH2RVA: Day 116

hammering-v2On New Year’s Eve I wrote: “On January 2 I’m going to hit the ground running, eager to get back to the joyful work of bringing heaven to earth.”

Now it’s time to make good on that resolution.

I actually did hit the ground running this morning, doing something I call “ecumenical jogging” with my friend Wallace Adams-Riley, Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  We covered seven miles and a host of different topics, including the importance of preaching in the Baptist tradition (extremely) as compared to the Episcopal Church (not so much; it shares the service with the Eucharist).  But at the end of the run I told him that I was ready to go back to work.  All these holidays and holy days have been wonderful, but I can’t sit around on the couch forever.

I’ve got work to do.

I often talk about the “joyful work” of bringing heaven to earth, but I’m becoming more and more convinced of the connection between work and joy, especially work that is meaningful and purposeful.  When I asked members of First Baptist to talk about the way they bring heaven to earth a few months ago I was struck by the common thread of joy that ran through each testimony. Shawnee Hanson would tell you that feeding hungry people is hard work, but joy radiates from her face as she says it.  Warren and Julie Pierce would tell you that helping refugees get settled in Richmond is hard work, but they would also tell you that it has brought them as much joy as they have found in any other pursuit.

So, while I’ve been feasting on the joy that comes from being together with family and friends over the holidays, I’m ready for the joy that comes from doing the work of the Kingdom.  How will I bring heaven to earth today?  I don’t even know.

But I’m eager to find out.

3 thoughts on “KOH2RVA: Day 116

  1. Jim, I know that you will bless countless others today, just as you do everyday!! Happy New Year and H2RVA!!

  2. That’s really part of the fun for me — seeing what pops up that I didn’t count on — even though it can be disconcerting when you have a full day planned already, it’s often the unexpected possibility that turns into something really special! For example, reading your blog the other day included the mention of sharing Christmas with someone far from home. While we had already had my twin Indian young ladies (my UR International student children), I saw the possibility of soldiers from Ft. Lee, so I went over and found two delightful young Marines who couldn’t get home with their brief liberty, but they provided hours of fun for me & my family, and I think we gave them at least a bit of feeling part of a family for the day! Don’t know what today will bring, but I’m looking for it!!!

  3. Hi.
    Dear Pastor Jim,
    Funny you should mention jogging with Rev. Wallace of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I volunteered with and for him for five weeks last winter at St.Paul’s in connection with Lenten Lunches there involving food, services, and fellowship.Going downtown, parking across from the Capitol, etc., gave me some questions, but I just let go and let God. I had the definite feeling that I had a chance to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond.

    As part of the wait staff, I appeared at the dining room of the Church after being in awe, once again, of the State Capitol across the street. An amazing group of people from all over the city gather there to wait on tables, fill glasses of water, cook, cashier, set tables, and do many other jobs. I was assigned a few tables, took orders for a plate choice of the day, serving it and advocating dessert with coffee. WOW!

    After the first day there, I felt an energy and community that was so strong, I went back again and again to help out. At least I never had to say, “Would you like fries with that?” Visitors were magnanimous, lunches were luscious and comforting, well made, desserts were enviable. Church staff was appreciative, worship experience was the best.

    Your week there was quite popular, and I was glad to hear praise for your worship addresses. But it was more that all of that. It was getting together, finding the time and interest to just show up and do God’s work. Sense of praise and celebration accompanied me during each day, and I look forward to going back to St. Paul’s in a few weeks, starting February 13th.

    Letting go and letting God certainly works when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven. Thinking on those 2012 weeks’ experiences, the Kingdom of Heaven was there, in the midst of the pews in the lovely sanctuary, around the steam tables in the kitchen, and on the smiles of everyone.

    I’ll volunteer, but I’m grateful that I don’t have to jog all the way to East Grace Street downtown.

    God bless us everyone.

    Trisha Grizzard Tetlow

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