Last Sunday, we met together outside (in rather windier weather!), to worship as a church family, focusing on the theme of "sharing a smile". We chatted in bubbles, crafted, wrote letters and poems to those who may need a smile and went on a prayer walk where we measured "smiles per hour" (we made it 96 smiles per hour!). It was a great opportunity for fun and fellowship outside in the fresh air! So why focus on smiles? Steph shared some of her thoughts on what the bible has to say about the importance of smiling!
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart: Proverbs 15:30
The last few months have been a time where we have perhaps struggled to find things to smile about – there have been many challenges along the way, strains on home life, some have lost jobs, have been furloughed or had to work longer hours to cover colleagues. There has been home schooling, working from home, isolation, and people have been seriously ill.
However, I am sure there were times where you did find happiness and joy during lockdown and more recently – zoom calls with family and friends, online quizzes, being with you close family – playing games, cooking together, going for walks, being in the garden and enjoying the wildlife. Even just the slower pace of life.
Smiling is good for you! Did you know …..
Smiling helps you relax and boosts your immune system it lowers blood pressure. Smiling releases endorphins and relieves stress, it is sometimes referred to as a natural pain killer! Smiles are contagious- a study done in Sweden at Uppsala University showed that people struggled to frown when they looked at other people who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles on their own! It takes 62 muscles to frown, but only 26 muscles to smile!
When we are in crowded areas the wearing of face masks is advised and it is not always easy to see people’s expressions, but you can tell when someone is smiling as their eyes really do sparkle.
Throughout everything, even when we are feeling down God is smiling on us, but sometimes we are preoccupied with what is going on around us to notice.
How do we know God is smiling down on us?
The beauty of the world around us – the bird song, the trees blowing in the wind – when we are feeling low a walk in the countryside can lift our spirits.
When we have said or acted as we shouldn’t, God will forgive us and wash our sins away. The Bible often refers to water washing away our sins as it is cleansing, powerful and pure.
God smiles on us when we take time to talk to Him, to pray, to reflect, to tell Him our worries, our stresses – by sharing our concerns He will take them and ease our load.
God smiles on us when we follow His word.
So allow God’s love to shine through our smiles to spread joy & happiness; as you go about your day to day life, do as it says in Proverbs, give a cheerful look to bring joy to those you meet.
Steph - Family Praise Team
If you want to find out more about the Smiles Per Hour initiative then visit Gloucester Community Building Collective's website. The next Family Fun morning is due to be on 11th October. Would be great to see you there!