Last Sunday, I went to my “home” church for the first time in almost a year. I went for the Easter sunrise service, because I wanted an Easter. It was difficult. The service included a fake tomb with a real rock not covering the opening. Some guy next to me joked about Angelina Jolie jumping out of it, but I didn’t know what he was talking about, so he explained, and then he looked at me crazy when I told him I didn’t see Tomb Raider. After a quick gospel reading, we in the congregation limped through “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” a capella – no organ, no choir, no instruments, no heart. It’s patheticness made me tear up – both with hilarity at how bad we sounded, but also with deep sadness about the level of enthusiasm we believers were able to muster to announce to the world that it is, in fact, saved. Then the preacher talked about using GPS to find Jesus, and I left feeling more lost that when I came.
Years ago – before I was a mom or married, before seminary, before I’d come back “into the fold” – I had a different kind of Easter morning. A bunch of friends and I gathered down at Town Lake for the sunrise. We saluted the sun as it was rising, then drank mushroom tea and proceeded to have a joyous mushroom-Easter trip through the rest of the morning. Some of my girlfriends were inspired to climb a tree and sing invented songs at the top of their lungs. We danced, we appreciated the natural beauty around us, we spread goodwill among unsuspecting joggers, we fell in love with each other and with our world. And it was fun!
It was church for me that day, what I still dream the church could be. Without the mushrooms, I guess, but with the sense of spontaneity and an appreciation for what’s in front of our faces. Not having to make a fake tomb to help “inspire” me. But my church is never going to be that, not without a miracle. I believe in miracles, of course, but it’s hard for me to see how the church is ever going to embrace fun or real life or God’s creation when its arms are so busy shoving the queers out the door and waving flags for the g.d. troops. How do I stay true to the Living Spirit in a church that can’t hear the Holy Whoosh ringing in its ears? What is my responsibility in this situation? Do I stay and help change it from the inside or do I leave to get some real spiritual nourishment? Lord.