Recently, Deacon Barbi and I joined four other Christian ministry groups from the east side of Carondelet. When we went around the room describing the strengths of our communities, Deacon Barbi gave her assessment of St. Paul’s. The words she used struck a chord among all of us in the room. She said that St. Paul’s greatest strength was its “unbridled joy”.
I had not thought of us as unbridled in our joyfulness. Unhinged perhaps, but unbridled?
What a beautiful thing to think about!
To me, unbridled means, we’re getting over ourselves and our need to project a competence and perfection that is untrue of any human being. We’re not hiding behind a façade of being "under control". Instead, we feel free to roam in the wideness and mercy of God’s love and forgiveness for us. We have fun, play and laugh, even in the midst of our pain and the seriousness of the situation.
Joy is that sweet treasure that doesn’t require the perfect environment in order to grow. It is able to shine through the prism of our tears; it surprises us in the midst of our challenges.
Thank you for being a part of the joyful life of St. Paul’s. It is a gift to journey with you and celebrate the freedom and love God bestows so generously on us all!
I’m so grateful to be your pastor,
A Poem Written In response:
At St. Paul's we have found unbridled joy to behold.
Within our hearts love for each other does unfold.
No one is better than and no one is seen as less.
Our church is filled with lots of love and happiness.
We have abundant love for every man, woman, girl or boy.
We come through get her with God's glory to employ.
We give helping hands, ready hugs and we smile a lot.
Come to us as a stranger, but when you leave, you're NOT.
Written by Sue Steptoe
(Inspired by Barbi)