We’ve been thinking about joy, and of course, we have been thinking about our own joy. It’s human to focus on ourselves, but I wonder, what brings God joy? I immediately think of things like this: when we act with justice, compassion, and forgiveness that brings God joy. And it probably does. When we take care of the earth and each other, that brings God joy. It probably does. When we use our gifts and talents to bring goodness to the world that brings God joy. It probably does. But what about the kind of joy that comes from surprise, silliness, and delight? Does God know that kind of joy? What surprises and delights God?

In her absolutely delightful collection of poems, “God Got a Dog,” Cynthia Rylant imagines what happens when God decides to see what it’s like to do regular human things. Her poems include, “God went skating,” “God made spaghetti,”“God got a desk job,” and my favorite, “God went to beauty school.” The idea of God trying out the human things we do makes me smile, and Rylant’s poems somehow hold both a touch of truth and silliness at the same time. What do you imagine brings God joy? What parts of your life do you think make God smile, or laugh, or cheer? If you were to write a poem about God trying on your everyday life for size, what would you write about? I commend “God went to beauty school” to you today as you think about God’s joy.

God went to beauty school by Cynthia Rylant

He went there to learn how
to give a good perm
and ended up just crazy 
about nails
so He opened up His own shop.
"Nails by Jim" He called it.
He was afraid to call it
Nails by God.
He was sure people would
think He was being
disrespectful and using
His own name in vain
and nobody would tip.
He got into nails, of course,
because He'd always loved
hands were some of the best things
He'd ever done
and this way He could just
hold one in His
and admire those delicate
bones just above the knuckles,
delicate as birds' wings, 
and after He'd done that
He could paint all the nails 
any color He wanted,
then say,
and mean it.

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Let us pray:
Lead us, Gracious God, and shape us by the grace of Christ and the inspiration of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to expand our understanding of joy, that we may grow in our ability to reflect your love and grace to those we meet this day. All this we ask in the name of Christ, Amen.