In his commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Bruce Larson tells the story of a conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they didn’t feel especially free to say “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.” All through the service, balloons ascended, but when it was over, 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased.
Being a Presbyterian myself, I can completely understand that. We place so much emphasis on a “thinking” faith that we often forget God wants all of us – body, mind and soul – emotions and all. Jesus once prayed,” Holy Father… I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.”
I pray that in your worship and life of faith, you would experience the fullness of God’s joy. May you always find ways to celebrate and express that joy. At the very least, please, let your balloon go.
Let us pray: Loving God, we know that you created us to glorify you and enjoy you forever. Today, lift our anxiety and fear. Fill us instead with an overwhelming sense of your peace, and grant us a joy that is contagious. Amen.