Find Your Pony!
Last Sunday afternoon I met with our Sunday School Teachers. One of the things that came out of that meeting was that occasionally I would try to coordinate my sermons with the lessons the children are focusing on in Sunday School. This Sunday the Sunday School for Youth will focus on the story of Job and the question of evil. My message in the sermon will also deal with evil and suffering, but from the perspective of maintaining optimism and finding joy: even in the worst of times.
One day a during the recent tour of Greece and Rome sponsored by our church entitled, “Following the Footsteps of Paul”, one of the persons traveling with our group who is not a member of the Plymouth United Church of Christ, heard me whistle a tune and she pulled me aside and asked me if I had ever heard that it has been said that people who whistle tend to be happy? I replied, “No, but for the most part I am a happy fellow.” I really believe that finding happiness starts with a sense of perspective. The glass is either half-full or half empty. I choose to look at life as a series of possibilities and not a cesspool of problems with no hope of salvation.
Sunday, my plan is to invite all of the children to the steps of the altar and tell them Ronald Regan’s joke about the optimist and pessimist. The joke goes like this: one boy is pessimistic and can see no hope in anything. His brother is the exact opposite. He is so optimistic that when confronted with a pile of manure he starts shoveling with his bare hands. Someone asks him why is he doing this and his cheerful response is: “With all of this manure, there has got to be a pony near by!”
The point of my message is that you and I need to look for the pony, find the pony, tame the pony and ride the pony.
If you are in the Detroit area this Sunday I hope you will stop by my church – the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit Michigan – 600 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, Michigan 48201. Worship is at 8:30 and 11 AM. If you have children, please bring them!
Romans 15: 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Questions for Reflection:
- How can one find joy in the midst of sadness?
- How can joy overcome evil?
- How does the Lord help us to develop a spirit of optimism?
Lord, grant me a spirit of optimism. Lord, grant me a thirst for joy. In the worst of times, teach me to look for a way out. When everything is going wrong, remind me that with you all things will work together for good. When evil raises its ugly head, encourage me to push for the best work for the best and strive to be the best I can be. Through the stillness of night, I hear your voice. From mountains high and valleys low, I feel your presence. Grant me a fresh perspective and a renewal of hope. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers, Photos and Meditations from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
More about Nicholas Hood III ministries at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ro 15:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.