After I finished my sermon last night I decided to take a break and Dear One and I went to see License to Wed. What a letdown. Aside from a couple of slapstick moments involving robot babies and body fluids there was nothing funny about this movie. And on a lot of levels I actually found it kind of disturbing. Apparently in "Rev. Frank's" (Williams') world, it is OK to be cruel, insensitive, smarmy, manipulative and even break the law to achieve your "godly" goals. And it's good to have a little sidekick "junior minister" there learning the ropes with you. Even his supposedly "redemptive act" involved doing something outside the law. So what's the message here? If you're doing it for a good cause (or think you are) all's well? Ummm....seems I've heard this somewhere before, "God told me to, so it's OK." I guess I expected better of Robin, my fellow Episcopalian! The good news is all it cost me was a box of popcorn as I had won the movie passes at a work party!
This morning the service was all ligthness and wonder, gift and grace. The sermon that seemed "ok" on paper felt better delivered. Feeding my people on word and sacrament I found myself loving them all over again. A blessed morning.
After church I took advantage of the great weather to get what will likely be my last sunburn of the season and attended the parade for our summer festival. I don't know if all small town parades are like this, but sandwiched between the bands and the drum lines, ours consists of a lot of the local business people, churches and service organizations driving decorated vehicles of all sorts and tossing stuff to the parade goers. Now most of the "stuff" in question is candy for the kids, and that is a show in itself watching them scramble for Tootsie rolls and Jolly Ranchers, and the occassional frisbee or nerf ball. But the merchants don't all cater to the kiddies. Today for example, I scored a mini-flashlight from the Pentecostals, a pair of cute pearl earrings from the new jewelry store, a 20% off coupon for the Maurice's, a rubber ducky from the mortuary (!), a magnet from the Catholics and a couple tootsie rolls I beat the kids to. I wore my "Episcopalian by the Grace of God" T- shirt as I often do to casual community events. It's been a conversation starter more than once. I noticed that most of my mainline brothers (and in this town it is most brothers) had a presence in the parade. Three Lutheran churches had floats, as did the Pentecostals who had a Christian rapper on their flatbed with a good loud sound system along with the flashlights they passed out. The new missionary alliance church planting folks were passing out tracts and candy, the Catholics had a float representing the church school and they were giving pencils and magnets. Many of them were playing catchy praise music. Got me thinking....the homecoming parade is not too far off. We are already planning to sell hot dogs for an MDG fundraiser. The street in front of church is on the parade route. Maybe we should be IN the parade as well. One of my congregants has a pickup, we could ride in the back, we could have a sign! What should an Episcopalian toss to the crowd? What music should we play? All suggestions will be considered.
It's been a long few weeks. Lots of intense emotion, time pressure, heavy stuff with clients. School starts Tuesday, and I know that things are going to get moving fast again in my life for awhile. But today for that hour or so in the sun in my post-worship languor I felt perfectly content to just be, remembering why it is I love small town life and practicing the Sabbath I preached.