~ A Sermon for PIE Sunday.
One of the things that I love to do is travel. I think I love to travel because I enjoy trying new things, especially the food. Growing up in Ontario, I remember my first trip to BC and trying for the first time freshly caught salmon. I also wanted to have a Nanaimo bar while on Vancouver Island. The first time I went to Prince Edward Island, I went to one of the famous church suppers. Often put on by local churches, this is a feast of lobster, biscuits, and potato salad. I loved the lobster. For dessert, there was bumbleberry pie. Wow…a pie I had never had before. A bumbleberry, I thought, must be something that grew in the Maritimes, because I had never heard of it. So, my pie came and I looked at the piece and discovered what bumbleberry was. If raspberry pie is good. Blackberry pie is great. Blueberry pie gorgeous. Strawberry rhubarb pie, wonderful, then what if you combined all of these in the filling it stands to reason that it would be fantastic…and this is what bumbleberry pie is. A mixture of all those berries.
When I walk up the rainbow ramp at the front of Kamloops United Church, I am reminded of a bumbleberry pie. In this building gathers a collection of great individuals but put them all together and you get something fantastic. Yes, I am looking forward to that day when we can all freely associate together once again in this place, but not until we are safe to do so. I think of the individual berries and the rhubarb or perhaps apple in a bumbleberry pie. All those different flavours coming together, enhancing one another.
To me, this is what PIE Sunday is all about. We are being Public, Intentional and Explicit about celebrating our diversity. The sidewalk and the banner on the steeple say to people who pass by our church building that this is who we are. Not everyone agrees with us, as we found out when our rainbow flag and flagpole disappeared one evening…but every person is welcome to become part of who we are because we believe that their joining us will enrich Kamloops United Church as a whole. We each bring our own flavour to the whole pie.
Another memory I have is worshipping in the chapel at McGill University in Montreal where I went to seminary. There on the pulpit were painted the Biblical Greek words: ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο – the Word became flesh. This is a quote from the first chapter of the Gospel of John which is a very mystical account of creation that we have read about in Genesis 1 where God speaks, and it comes to be. God says let there be light and there is light, and it is good. God creates the dry land, and it is good. God creates night and day, and it is good. God creates the multitude of stars. Then God gets really creative in making swarms of living creatures in the waters and every winged bird of every kind. Then God creates living creatures of every kind from cattle to creeping things and wild animals. Every time creates, God sees that what has been done is good.
What we are being told in this story from Genesis is that God goes crazy when it comes to creation and that that diversity is good. God creates over three thousand different types of tulips, over thirty thousand different types of fish and over 300 different breeds of dogs. The point of the Genesis creation is that God goes over the top when it comes to creating.
Then, on the sixth day, God creates humankind in God’s own image. There is no reason for God to stop creating in such an excessive fashion. So, God creates human beings with a multitude of races, of genders, of sexual preferences, of identities and then God stands back and like the artist satisfied with a piece of work admires the humans and says, “It is good.” God’s word has become flesh.
As I read this, I am hearing that God created me and it is good. God created me with all of my intricacies and uniqueness and it is good. I also hear that God created you, whoever you might be, and God created you good. I one saw a bumper sticker that said, “God does not make junk.” Or as Psalm 139:14 puts it, “You’re fearfully and wonderfully made!”
I think that this is the Biblical basis of how we are to approach the diversity of individuals in our world today. We are all made in the image of the divine. Sometimes I am quite baffled by or do not understand the plurality or diversity of individuals and everything that they are made up of whether it be race, faith, culture or sexuality, or just plain different members of my family or friends, but then I rest in the fact that they are created in the multifaceted image of God. Just as I, as a Christian, am seeking to ever know more about God who is inclusive and diverse, I am also seeking to ever know more about my fellow human beings who too are very diverse.
If we are created in God’s image, created to be like God and are co-creators with God in our modern world, then we are to create like God. We are called to help all life on this planet flourish, we are to care for the earth and its creatures. In this way we show to the world our likeness with God. We are called to enjoy the bumbleberry pie we call humanity. We are public. We are intentional. We are explicit as we do this. Like the rainbow, it is okay to let our true colours shine.
Bumbleberry Pie Image: Creative Commons: Ben Rogers