taking attendance – week 49

My word for 2016 is ATTENDAlthough I don’t think attending is a superpower, some days I wish it was. On those days, I think if one more person promises that he or she has the superpower to right all wrongs and save US from THEM, I daydream about sticking a pencil in my (or someone else’s) eye. On my better days, however, I choose to acknowledge that while I have no superpowers and am responsible TO the World – I’m not responsible FOR it. I’m responsible FOR my life and how I choose to live it.

To that end, I will attend to what and whom I can. And I’ll remember that I don’t have to attend every argument, drama or political whack-o-doodleness to which I’m invited. Each Sunday , I’ll share something here – an image, a poem, a song or maybe even a story that’s helped me attend to what I can that week.

Earlier this week, I attended the Celtic Eucharist in the St Clare Chapel at St Francis by the  Sea in Salter Path, NC.  I’ve attended this service before and it’s always a sacred gig.  God always shows up, as do many of God’s prophets.  It was the same this week and it was different. It was silly sacred.

I could tell we were in for a different kind of experience, when one of the church members and musicians (I’ll call him Charlie, since that’s his name)  gave everyone felt reindeer antlers to wear during the service.  Father Everett received felt Santa Claus headgear.  After signing a simple version of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, our worship began in earnest. We prayed.  We praised.  We sang.  We pondered and powerfully discussed the presence and role of prohets in our lives. We shared our struggles. We shared in the Holy Eucharist.  We hugged before we went back out into The Real World.  And we did all of this wearing felt reindeer antlers. Yep, it was silly sacred.  And it was perfectly imperfect.

The word and state of silly gets a bad rap.  When I looked-up the etymology of the word silly, here’s what I found:

  • Old English gesælig “happy, fortuitous, prosperous” (related to sæl “happiness”), from Proto-Germanic *sæligas (source also of Old Norse sæll “happy,” Old Saxon salig, Middle Dutch salich, Old High German salig, German selig “blessed, happy, blissful,” Gothic sels “good, kindhearted”), from PIE *sele- “of good mood; to favor,” from root *sel- (2) “happy, of good mood; to favor” (source also of Latin solari “to comfort,” Greek hilaros “cheerful, gay, merry, joyous”

If you’re near Salter Path at noon on Wednesdays, I can’t recommend this service highly enough. I can’t promise you’ll leave with your own reindeer antlers, but I can promise you’ll leave with a lighter heart and more hope.  It seems to me we could all benefit from a little more open-hearted silly stirred into our sacred, serious, scared struggles. So if you’re not near Salter Path, may you attend to your own kind of silly sacred. I’d love to hear about it!

4 thoughts on “taking attendance – week 49

  1. Love the story and the photo, it’s a good point, does church and worship always have to be super serious? 12 step meetings, basically hanging out in church basements, was my path back to church. And laughs and silliness (about a very serious subject) are integral to most meetings. In fact, if I hadn’t laughed so hard at my first meeting I doubt I would have gone to a second one. Here I thought I was having so much “fun” drinking and partying but I realized at that first meeting that I hadn’t really laughed, fully and from my belly, in a very long time. This helped me realize that something had been missing and motivated me to go to the next meeting. 28 years later, still going to meetings (and now church) and it seems to be working out.

    I wonder if I have the jingle bells to bring antlers to church…

    Thank you, Lisa!

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