Even When

posted Feb 11, 2022, 12:04 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Epiphany blessings to you!

Early in the week the weather was pretty abysmal. Ice, rain, cold, wind for two days. But the next day! The following day was glorious, sunny with a brilliant blue sky. I gave a prayer of thanks and opened my arms wide to the new day. And then I saw them, or rather, I heard them first. I looked up and there were so many birds flying from tree to tree and they were singing as they did so. Diving, soaring, fluttering, with their musical cadences echoing throughout the church property, as if they were joining with me in the glory of the beautiful day. I am aware that I’m anthropomorphizing these creatures of God, but it truly did seem like they were rejoicing.

Rejoice in the Lord always . . . (Philippians 4.4)

As people of faith we are called to rejoice in the Lord always. I must be honest. I’ve often responded back to that Scripture with, “Really, God? Rejoice even when there’s a pandemic all around us? Be joyful even when our bodies are hurting? Be glad even when we’re grieving the loss of someone? Chin up even when we see so much poverty, homelessness, food scarcity, and injustice?”

And the answer from Scripture is “Yes, even when.”

We will lament and grieve as we will and as we should. But as followers of Christ, we also are summoned to find that small something that points us toward God’s abundant hope and never-ending grace . . . always. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air . . .” I’m glad I did look that day because it was the joy of the birds after a dismal storm that reminded me of Jesus’ promise that he would be with us amid the “even when” and the joy of our world.


I look forward to being with you in person or on FaceBook live this Sixth Sunday after Epiphany when we will rejoice in the Lord. Nancy Coffin is our featured musician this week and she will be singing “When Peace Like a River” for our Prelude and “If You But Trust in God to Guide You” for our Anthem. I will be preaching from Psalm 1 and Luke 6.17-26 and my sermon title is One Sermon. We will also gather around God’s table of grace and celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In addition, we will receive our Deacons’ Offering for those who are struggling in our church and community. Ms. Judy is continuing her well deserved vacation, so we welcome back to the organ Tom Martucci.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish