Mardi Gras MaskHmmmmm… carnival in Church? A fun idea! Today’s service scrambled the usual liturgy beyond recognition, and we had a series of clowns performing and “aiding” worship, and it was complete with a “reverse offering” where the plates were passed for the congregation to draw from, rather than contribute to (some of us had an exceedingly hard time with this, depositing our pledges into the plate even as we withdrew, but I digress). Instead of a “Word to the Children,” we had a “Word to the Parents,” where all of us with kids between 4 and 13 or so were called forward to the steps of the platform (alas, we were forbidden to go to “children’s church”). And of course, being the circus it was, we even had an ordination today before having our clownish assistants help us bury the Alleluias during a festive dirge on the piano.

Earlier in the week I was contemplating someone else’s post about upsetting the status quo (might have been PB+J, but I’m not sure!), and this was a classic example of it. I can’t imagine upsetting the liturgical apple cart like this in our last church. Liturgy and ritual are part of every church, regardless of denomination and regardless of people who vehemently deny that they have any ritual or liturgy (but who, nevertheless, insist on doing the same thing over and over and over again 😉 ). Shaking things up a bit, even creating a carnivalesque atmosphere in church, is a reminder of the work of Jesus, the Prophets, and St. Paul, or at least it should be; and it should force us to resist the temptation to freeze expressions of our faith into unchanging forms, lest we become completely irrelevant, and above all, remind us that our faith and expressions of it are supposed to be fun.