Praise the Lord, all you nations;
Laud him, all you peoples.
For his loving‑kindness toward us is great,
And the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Psalm 117:1-2, NRSV
In 2007, I attended the North American Association for the Diaconate biennial meeting in Seattle. The keynote speaker was the then Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Shori. Now, she obviously knew her audience and spoke directly to us as deacons. In the liturgy, the Gospel—the Good News—is usually read by the deacon, and then the deacon is the one who dismisses the congregation and sends them out into the world. Bishop Katherine charged us, as deacons, to use a dismissal other than one in the prayer book. She suggested, “Get up, get out of here, get lost.” On reflection, my fear is that someone may take the last part literally and not come back! So I have changed the wording slightly and have often used the dismissal, “Get up, get out of here, get lost in the service to others.”
The Bishop meant we are not only Christians when we are in church on Sunday mornings. We are to go into the world and get lost in the joy of helping others. We gather in worship together to remind ourselves of who we are and who we are to be in the world. God wants us to know the fulfilment of life that comes when we give ourselves over to joyful service, give joy to others through your acts of loving service, get lost in the joy of being Christ in the world and then return to your base camp at St. Martin’s. Take the word of God out into the world and show others the love of Christ. Psalm 117 talks about God’s loving-kindness, His committed love for His people. Reflect this love to others through your commitment to others, your willingness to go the extra mile with a touch, a kind word and a helping hand.
We are a week into the New Year and I wonder how many of the resolutions you made on Jan. 1 have already fallen by the wayside. So many charitable organizations have suffered financially, but have kept their doors open during the last year. Today, could your resolution be to go work with them as they help others? How is the Lord calling you today? Whatever it is, wherever it takes you, spread joy!