Depression and anxiety are at plague proportions in our modern, affluent land, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get the joy we need.
Even though we have greater wealth, improved health, longer life-expectancy, and the opportunities to connect with countries across the globe, we seem to be sadder than ever.
I was reminded that a great antidote to many mental ailments is becoming drawn into a partnership with something much bigger than the individual.
On the one level, this means that joining an outwardly-focused club or community organisation will mean we are led to focus less on ourselves and more on others.
But on a greater level, this means that when you come to be a follower of the maker of the heavens and the earth—God, who holds the universe in his hands—you then have an invitation to see your own concerns deeply met as you lift up your head to worship the one who loves you deeply and gave his son to die for you.
Yet, even those who are followers of Jesus will find themselves in times of depression, when joy seems hard to find.
Psalm 51 tells us that in times of sin, we can be overwhelmed with guilt and sadness… and that as we humbly ask God to forgive our sin, we need to then seek something more: joy.
As David prayed,
“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.” (Psalm 51:7-8).
As the burden of sin is lifted from our shoulders, we can know afresh the deep, deep love of Jesus, and can experience true, deep joy in the forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
This weekend we’re going to hear the story of Gideon, one of the most famous leaders in the Bible, and the man known for millions of Bibles in hospitals and motels throughout the world. We’re going to consider his dramatic rise to leadership, and then the events that saw his decline.
In all of this, we will have a fresh reminder of how much God loves us and forgives us, even when we fail to serve him as we should. That’s the theme over and over again in the Old Testament book of Judges, and we’ll see more of it this weekend.
As always, we’ve got a stack of questions that you asked last week, and I’m looking forward to answering. They are:
1. Why does God love us when we constantly sin against him?
2. Why did God make us when he knew we would reject him?
3. Why doesn’t God prevent people from making stupid mistakes?
4. Does God love everyone or only Christians?
5. What was the first Christian song?
6. What’s the difference between submitting and serving?
7. Can you be gay and still come to church?
We’d really love you to join us at 5pm Saturday for an all-age and stage church service, with kids programs for toddlers, infants and primary, followed by a hearty dinner for all, then youth group. Or come along on Sunday at 9am for our classic Anglican service, complete with espresso coffee and great morning tea.
If you’ve not come to church for a while, then this is the perfect weekend to join us. Or if you’re a regular, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to serve each other and enjoy the delights of our community.
Grace and peace, Jodie.