Spiritual Director · September 13, 2016

Affirm #6

Let me tell you about Ellie. Ellie was a very distinguished senior citizen who lived in a very well kept trailer home. It didn’t matter if it was Sunday or a work day, Ellie was always in peak condition, mentally and physically. Though she was a widow, she was very strong. Maybe being a widow forced her to take control of things.

Ellie loved coming to church. She was the epitome of Psalm 122:1, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” (MSG) That was Ellie. She loved worshipping, singing in the choir. She was part of a ministry that wrote letters to our college students to keep them informed of what was happening back at church and to remind them they were loved. She even sent them care packages filled with her delicious brownies and other delectables. As a matter of fact when we were building the church, her and another lady, Dorothy, varnished all the interior wood – and there was a lot of it. Going to church and being at church made Ellie happy.

However, I do remember one day when she wasn’t very happy with me and the situation at hand. It was a Sunday morning and I was greeting people before our worship service when I realized that Ellie was standing right next to me and was not one bit happy. Seems that some new people came to church that day and sat in Ellie’s seat – Fourth row, first chair! That’s where Ellie sat each and everySunday and everybody knew that was Ellie’s seat – except for these new people. Ellie wanted me to move them. If I didn’t, she told me in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t be able to worship and her day would be totally ruined.

I tried to reason with Ellie that neither of those were true and that hospitality to our guest should be freely offered. She wasn’t having any of that. She wasn’t real happy with that day, but she did get over it. Every Sunday thereafter, Ellie was in church just that much earlier to make sure she reserved her seat. Her heart once again leaped for joy to be in God’s house.

How about you? Does your heart leap for joy in knowing you’re going to God’s house!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Going to God’s house to worship, to pray, to learn, to fellowship, to work, should bring joy to your heart. Not because you get what you want, but simply because you get to be in the presence of God and surrounded by brother’s and sister’s in Christ. You should be able to say, “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.”

Today we thank You for our church – for meeting us there. For loving us unconditionally and telling us every opportunity You get. Thank You for those who walk with us in this journey of life. Fill my heart with joy! In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.