We hear a lot these days about how we identify as individuals. Individuals can fully identify simultaneously in several different ways. For example, I am a Cubs fan, musician, wife, etc.
Berry also identifies itself in several ways.
Berry is table-centered. Literally so, this morning. We practice regular Communion, which reminds us of the centrality of the sacraments to our life together. We remember Jesus’ life and words through the reading and study of scripture. We remember His sacrifice and His teachings, which guide our understanding of who we are, and whose we are.
Berry is table-centered in that we celebrate fellowship with one another, sharing our joys and our burdens. Gathering together regularly as we crave that which sustains us. Today, we will share a meal, which will sustain our bodies. We also share a faith that sustains our hearts as we prepare to move through another week in this crazy world of ours.
Berry is an arts-rich community that celebrates creativity. Music, dance, crafts, painting & drawing, writing, and many other artistic expressions help us connect with our truth and help convey it to others. We encourage each other in our creative pursuits, knowing that that spark of new and creative ideas can be God’s way of using us to shine a light on the way to His Kingdom.
Berry also identifies as a place where we celebrate Justice and Joy.
Justice reminds us of God’s love for all of God’s children. Everybody, and I do mean every body, is loved by God. Equally. Although it may seem sometimes as though the light of God’s love and grace may shine more easily and brightly on some of God’s children or parts of the creation, God’s Justice reminds us that the light of God’s love finds all and shines on all.
And then there is Joy.
When we are in right relationship with God, working to invite God’s Kingdom, in service to others, Joy cannot help but be present. Joy may not feel like a party all of the time. Joy is not giddiness or superficial excitement. Joy is that deep knowledge that we are where we need to be, doing what we need to do, being there for those who need our presence, prayers, gifts, and service to make disciples and to bring about God’s Kingdom on earth.
Working for Justice brings us Joy.
And when we experience that Joy, we are inspired to work for Justice.