Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee, age 23, died in an August 26th airport attack in Afghanistan, along with at least 12 other U.S. soldiers and at least 90 Afghans. A few days before, Sergeant Gee posted a photo of herself assisting Afghani refugees boarding a plane, desperate to escape the violence in their country. A week prior to the attack, Sergeant Gee posted a photo of herself holding an Afghani baby. “I love my job,” Sergeant Gee wrote under the photo.
Two of my favorite hymns are about Joy. The words to ‘Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ (#89 in the UM Hymnal) were written in 1907 by Henry Van Dyke, a Presbyterian clergyperson and scholar. Rev. Van Dyke was reportedly inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains during a visit to Massachusetts. The world was a troubled place in 1907, with the events leading to World War I already in motion, but Rev. Van Dyke’s words remind us that God’s joy is a gift even in the midst of trouble.