Monday, March 08, 2010

She wore her wedding dress on the light rail

When my daughter is so happy, she can’t stop smiling because she has married the perfect man and just had the perfect wedding – and when the clouds break and the sunlight streams through the Cathedral’s blue stain glassed window at the moment of the consecration of the Eucharist – time stood still.

On a partly cloudy Saturday afternoon in downtown Phoenix at Trinity Cathedral, I experienced a holy moment. Honestly, it was pretty much an entire holy day. Our daughter’s wedding brought together family and friends to celebrate the experience of love and laughter. The day turned into night and the party continued, right there at the Cathedral.

Imagine that – a hundred people, young adults, young families, a few oldies – experiencing the holy and the sacred and having the best party they had ever experienced (their words not mine) – how does that happen at church? Our party had great dancing, to today’s best tunes, good wine (and other spirits) and a room filled with the hoops and shouts of joy.

I will be so bold to suggest that it is what Jesus intended when he performed his first miracle at a wedding, of course he turned water into wine – one that wedding was celebrated for days (at least we didn’t run out of wine.)

I wonder what would happen if every holy and sacred worship service in the Episcopal Church broke out into a party? Why not? What keeps the church from being a moment of holy celebration? Nothing. Not a thing.

The Episcopal Church sits around and scratches it head, wondering, pondering, and agonizing over how to save the Church from a gradual demise. The Church asks itself, its best minds, even peers over the fence at its neighbors desperately hoping for solutions to the apparent absence of young voices. How do we get young people into our parishes? What is the best form of evangelism?

I don’t have the answers. Honestly, I don’t feel the need – I do know this – Saturday the Church did it what it does best; the holy was experienced in a unique way, a way that the Episcopal Church knows how to do well and because we are a people who know and encourage a good party, it happened right at the Cathedral, right in the church, without apologies, in the presence of clergy and God dancing right along side us (his name was Robert and her name was Veronica.)

Thank you AJ and Phil for inviting us to your God graced party – where time stood still – and you gave us a good strategic plan for church growth (just party! and wear your wedding dress onto the light rail!)