When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable… (Luke 14:7)
Last Sunday, we nearly ran out of space while assuring everyone had a place in Redeemer’s Fall Kick-Off Ministry Fair. This was my first Redeemer Fall Kick-Off in the Sims Atrium since I started at Redeemer in 2020, and I must say, the energy was palpable. I watched animated hands fly in conversation between Christopher’s Haven and leaders in Children and Family Ministry as they imagined ways to serve families navigating pediatric cancer treatments. I noticed youth signing up for the prayer team and young adults connecting with Grace House Campus Ministry. With leaders representing over 40 ministries, the Sims Atrium was a buzz once again.
Even with all the people and passion filling the Sims Atrium, there was one place where uncontainable joy overflowed, which is fitting since joy is in their name: Java Joy. Java Joy is a non-profit coffee service that exclusively hires adults with disabilities. During the Fall Kick-Off, in the Reception Room, three “Joyristas” served hot and iced coffee, hot chocolate, and Krispy Kreme Donuts with exuberant joy and kindness. One of the Joyrista’s was Redeemer’s very own, Mary Clara Haury. Mary Clara was hired as a Joyrista last spring and was delighted to work at a Redeemer event. All afternoon she talked about her job.
As I reflect on our theme, “A Place For You,” I think of Mary Clara. I think of her singing her heart out at Rejoicing Spirits. I think of her greeting David Ott from across the Sims Atrium on a Sunday morning. I think of Deacon Mary and Cindy Holler and Sally Rosser, and many other Redeemer members showing up to help Mary Clara’s family plan what’s next after high school. Every time I see Mary Clara, I see the light of Jesus inviting others to share in the love and joy Jesus offers.
If you don’t know Mary Clara, come to Rejoicing Spirits Worship, meet her, sing with her, and worship with her. Rejoicing Spirits is a worship service for people of all ages and abilities. Worship encourages all to share their gifts in a comfortable, shush-free setting where difference is celebrated and ‘can’t’ is thrown out the window. We are all beloved children of God, and everyone needs a place to worship joyfully. I hope you can join us on September 11th at 3:30 pm and see that there is a place for you here.