Minister’s Mind–Revelry

What does it mean to be a people of Revelry? We found out at Cabaret Church! Dancing, making art together, baby animals, selfies, hula hoopers, marching bands, and all those amazing musicians! The day was full of fun and joy, along with a lot of inspiration and meaning. It was the perfect way to kick off our month of Revelry!

Thank you to everyone who helped make Cabaret Church happen The list is too long to mention everyone by name, but that doesn’t make the gratitude any less. Thank you to everyone who made a donation, volunteered their time, helped organize, hosted musicians or other guests, or who came to listen, watch, and play. It was a fabulous day and a great success. We hope that other congregations will be inspired to do similar events and that we can host again in two years. (Next summer, our focus is on the choir tour to Romania that you’ll be hearing a lot more about soon.)

On June 7th, I preached about joy and revelry. In that sermon, I talked about three things that make joy more abundant in our communities:

Joy is an unlimited resource, but it still needs our attention and intention, or it can become scarce. We are responsible for three things that make joy more abundant and more likely when we are together. First, we have to think of ourselves as creators rather than consumers. If you come to church thinking only, “What’s in it for me? Did the service meet my needs?” “Did the sermon express my particular beliefs?” there isn’t as much room for joy. If instead, you come ready to help make joy possible, to look for ways to participate in creating a joyful community, it will begin to happen.

Second, joy is grounded in gratitude, and gratitude in grounded in attention. For joy to grow among us and in our lives, we have to be on the lookout for goodness. We have to stop and notice the small things—the smell of the rain this morning, the beautiful way Carol read her poem—the new people here who were brave enough to get out of bed and come looking for something they might not even be able to name—the person who came early to greet people, to make coffee, to prepare for our annual meeting…there are so many thing to be thankful for, but we have to look for them, to nurture and nourish gratitude. When we do, it’s easy for us to find joy—to take joy—in the goodness around us.

The third and final way we can encourage and enlarge the joy around us… is through connection. If we want to find joy, we have to look for every chance we have to connect with each other. Joy happens when we break through isolation and realize that we are not alone—we are surrounded by other beautiful souls who share not only our planet or our community or our congregation, but our dream of a better world, our hope for lives filled with meaning, and our need for companionship as we journey toward our goals.

If we are able to do these things: to approach life as creators, not consumers; ground our lives in gratitude; and dare to make real connections with each other, there will be an abundance of joy in this place. We will be powered by joy.

There are a lot more opportunities this month to experience revelry and create joy! This Sunday, June 14, we’re be worshiping in the park with our neighbors from Elgin, DeKalb, Rockford, and Rockton. (Read more here.) We’ll begin at 11 a.m. with a short worship service presented by Rev. Matthew Johnson, Rev. Lise Adams-Sherry, and me. Then we’ll spend time getting to know each other as we picnic and play. (There is a playground and shelter at the park.) Come enjoy getting to know UUs from nearby!

Later this month, I’ll be heading off to Portland, Oregon for Ministry Days and General Assembly. I have the honor of presenting this year’s Berry Street Essay to my peers, and then doing a workshop at General Assembly called, “Loving the Hell Out of This World, Part 2: That’s Church???” where I’ll tell the story of Cabaret Church and what we learned. Much of General Assembly is now LiveStreamed, so you can watch the revelry! Dr. Cornel West will be presenting this year’s Ware Lecture and you will be able to view the Opening Ceremony, The Service of the Living Tradition, many worship services, plenaries, and other events.

If that’s not enough revelry for you, here is the link to this month’s Soul Matters resources on the topic!


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