With gladness of heart

Some words of wisdom, inspiration and challenge from Bishop Steven Charleston:

We are on a rescue mission.
That’s one way to think of our task as people of faith.
We are out on stormy waters looking for other men and women
who may be struggling.

It does not matter their age, race or religion:
it only matters that they are in need of help.
That is why in this community we never try to convert anyone
but extend a hand of welcome to everyone.
The world has gotten too fractured
for us to be concerned with our differences.
We need to unite around what we hold in common:
a longing for peace, a need for justice,
a love that rescues us all
and a gladness of heart that is strength for the journey.

With gladness of heart.
That is one of my favorite spiritual images:
to accept the reality of life,
even in its most difficult times,
and to do so with a deep appreciation
for the great gift life is,
a gladness that transcends the immediate
to celebrate the eternal.

This is not an intuitive thing to do
because it is so easy for us to get caught up
in life’s struggles and disappointments.
But it is a healing and liberating thing to do.
Even in these days of lament,
let me free my heart to be glad for another day,
glad for those who share this life with me,
and glad that there is always another chapter to come
whatever my experience has written so far.

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