It started with a simple question on Facebook.
Could we get the fire-belching trombone for Easter morning?
How long can it be played before it gets too hot? Can my son play it?
Jason chimed in with his continuing request for a grass broom to sprinkle (i.e., douse) water on folks during the thanksgiving for baptism. Oh, and one for the bishop who will be with us on Easter morning.
Which brought up a reminder about the bishop's "donkey stick."
Two of our newer members responded:
"I really can't explain how happy I am I met you all. Flaming trombones? Yes, please. Spraying brooms? ...Y'all are my people."
"You all are out of your minds. Glad we found you."
At one point in this conversation I noted that we take our faith seriously, our worship, not always so much.
That's one thing I've appreciated about St. Stephen's. We allow ourselves to enjoy worship. It's OK to laugh. And when we laugh, it's an honest laugh. The children's talk is always an adventure, since children, can indeed, say the darndest things. We are amazingly willing to try new things in worship. We don't always like them, but we will give them a fair trial.
In 2006, when Dan Howe introduced us to his Incarnation Mass during the Epiphany season, many looked at it and said we'll never get it. It's hard to sing. It's harder to sing if you don't read music. We've had to ask two music directors to create their own accompaniment to the service because Dan never wrote it down. But we persevered, and now there's a significant portion of the congregation who would be heart-broken if we didn't do the service every year.
There was the Sunday that the choir sang a Bach piece using scat syllables (think do-be-do-be-do).
Someday we’ll get more than a smattering of people turning during the “Turning of the Canticle” hymn. And someday we’ll get people to clap on the “right” beat during hymns, but right now, it’s just great to get people to clap.
We don't think the world will end if wine is spilled or bread is dropped during communion.
The service isn't spoiled if someone forgets to light the altar candles.
Someone is quick to step in if they notice that one of the service assistants is missing.
In so many ways, our worship is flawed. The flaws are not earth-shattering. They are typically so insignificant that most people never notice, or if they do notice, they just chuckle.
Our faith, however, is a different matter.
We take our faith seriously.
That's another thing I appreciate about St. Stephen's. I've never had the slightest doubt that those attending St. Stephen's have a deep faith in God. We are all very different people. We have different politics. We have different life experiences. We have different outlooks on life. But we can come together as one community on Sunday morning.
We come to church to hear the word and message of God. We come to church to sing music that continues that message. We welcome anyone who comes through our doors for worship. We make our faith public by supporting the food pantry. We share our faith by inviting people to join us in community activities.
I have talked to visitors who have shared that they felt comfortable being here but also knew that they were hearing the word of God. We couldn’t ask for a better combination.
We are all a little bit crazy. We publicly proclaim faith in something that we can’t prove. We do it weekly, with joyous hearts.
We are all a little bit crazy. Glad we found each other.
- Ann Warner