Monday, October 1, 2012

Evangelical Extravagance

Blessing a bearded dragon 9.30.12
Wild church.  We blessed the animals on Sunday: there were two bearded dragons, all kinds of dogs, a cat and a chicken.  Hymns were accompanied by barking and whelping and all kinds of laughter.  And when it came time to bless all the critters, children came too, carrying soft, cherished, stuffed critters.  There was a shark, a turtle, teddy bears and others held together by duct tape and love.  The line was so long, the feeling so was tough at times to tell the barking dogs from the cherished stuffed ones.

Even more, around the sanctuary there was a spirit of such generosity, such devotion.  I listened, I watched.  Here's some of what I heard:

A grateful woman gave thanks for a 90-year-old member who's raising money (and awareness) for Alzheimer's care and research.  They share a story: each having cared for a partner living with the disease.  Her respect for him was deep, heartfelt.  We all experienced it.

Another exuberant member celebrated a successful two-day marathon--fundraising for breast cancer research.  She beamed, ear to ear, head to toes--with gratitude, pride and love.  And she was sure to tell us she did all this for the mom she lost 40 years ago, and all the friends she's loved since.

Two creative friends invited us all to First Friday Arts night at the Museum of Art and History--where next month's theme is conflict and nonviolence.  Let art speak to your hearts!  Let art inspire visions of peace!  Let art encourage creativity in the midst of conflict and tension!  Opportunities abound.

A Korean-American student, newly arrived in Santa Cruz and at church, brought her family to worship and a plate of Korean desserts for our church potluck.  Passed around the hall, the plate was a reminder of the cultural communion that is our privilege and our vocation in 21st century California.

At brunch, a table of young adults compared notes on the latest tattoos:  which local artists are best, what kind of symbolism matters most, why get tattooed at all.

And through it all, the body of Christ--homeless men and others making a new start after years in jail, college students and decorated professors, cancer survivors and men adjusting to Parkinson's now--the body of Christ singing and feasting, shining and sharing, dreaming of new ways to give love away.

Wild church.  Evangelical extravagance.  Something worth sharing. 

(See reflections by Jimi Valiente-Neighbors here!)