By Samuel Littauer
My dad always picked me up from Sunday School the same way. Each week, he would poke his head in the door and belt out an operatic rendition of my name, over-enunciating each syllable, and laughing as I ran towards him with secondhand embarrassment. He sang my name all the time growing up: baseball games, graduations, Sunday school pickups, and even today as he answers my admittedly infrequent phone calls. Even though other parents would laugh, my dad was never embarrassed by his off-key opera every Sunday morning. I always knew my dad was near because of the sound of his jocund laugh and him popping through the door while making a show tune out of my name.
Through my dad’s name-based musical whimsy and contagious sense of humor, I have come to realize that joy, righteousness, singing, and laughter are all more closely related than we often assume. Perhaps many of us think of righteousness and holiness as an embrace of the solemn moments of quiet reverence or only as destitute prostrate experiences. While holy fear and humble reverence to God are critically important postures of faith, it is important to see the act of singing, gladness, and laughter as similar acts of reverent worship and not as a signal flare for spiritual immaturity. One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, once described laughter as “carbonated holiness”. Devout Catholic and late night talk show host Stephen Colbert often says, “You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time.” I feel both of these statements paint an image of how God reigns over his children as a Holy Father. While fully omnipotent and omniscient, God is often described as omnipresently joyful and as a singing God. His joyful song fills the air and animates creation. Consider how the prophet Zephaniah describes the forthcoming day of redemption and liberation for God’s people in Zephaniah 3:17-19:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
In the final days of redemption, restoration, and liberation, the divine reaction to apocalyptic tumult is joy and singing. I hope to become a person who listens for the universal song of God’s justification, glorification, and delight in His children, and that His joyful tune would drown out my multitude of anxieties, fears, and doubts. To quote Colbert, it is true that you cannot “laugh and be afraid at the same time” in light of God’s ultimate song of redemption that saturates the air. The Capital Fellows program provides a wonderful space and opportunity to consider the tumult within our own lives and to trust that our anxieties and worries will be relieved by God’s song of cosmic joy and laughter. We ask that you would pray for our cohort, that we would be able to have our ears open for God’s heavenly song of love and liberation in our work, relationships, and ordinary rhythms of life.
Truly, God is a heavenly Father who is picking us up to take us home. God is singing our name and laughing with us as we run to Him with scribbled artwork and animal cracker crumbs on our little sweaters.
Our heavenly Father is singing our name.
It’s all going to be okay.
Recent Capital Fellows Pictures
Capital Presbyterian Fairfax is on the move! Pray for our congregation as we settle into our new home at Woodson High School. Thankful for the chance to serve with these wonderful friends on Sunday mornings. (NOTE: Capital Pres Fairfax is a new and growing site of the Capital Pres Family)
Especially thankful to Liz and Rob Yancey for allowing us to meet at their home for Life & Leadership on Wednesday nights! Smiles, stories, and food bellies abound. It is the best!
Really love these guys and am thankful for their friendship, imagination, thoughtfulness, and David's excellent food recommendations. (Not featured: Colin Jost lookalike, Jack Neary!)
Thankful for my wonderful host family, and my host sister (above) who smoked me in a game of hockey! She was very patient with me as I slipped, slid, crashed, and kerplunked around the neighborhood rink.
This semester, we've been able to hear from a wide variety of friends on how their faith influences their work. I especially loved hearing from Dr. Brent Seales on his lifelong work in digital scroll unwrapping and reading ancient biblical texts. Very cool!
Become A Capital Fellow in 2022-23
We are now receiving applications for Season 16 of the Capital Fellows program!
THE CLASS IS FILLING UP! APPLY TODAY!
IMPORTANT: SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK AT MCLEAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - Most fellows work in the marketplace - for companies, nonprofits, government offices. Three Capital Fellows work at our church each year as well. For these roles, we are looking for a worship fellow, a children's ministry fellow, and a missions fellow. These are special Capital Fellows opportunities because you are not only paid a salary, but also your Capital Fellows program fees are covered as well!
The Season 16 program year runs from late August 2022 through mid-May 2023. If you are a college senior or recent graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you!
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!
The Capital Fellows have entered the final three months of the Capital Fellows program - the home stretch. Please pray for them as they continue to grow deeper in their walk with the Lord and with each other. Pray that this final third of the program would be a rich encounter with God for each of them.
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 32 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. Capital Fellows benefit from our affiliation with The Fellows Initiative in many ways. One of those ways is that all Capital Fellows alumni receive a 33% tuition discount at Reformed Theological Seminary for 5 years. For more information, please contact us.
If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining The Fellows Initiative by launching a new fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.
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