Holy Week is not just the most meaningful time for Christians, it is the busiest time for clergy. This pandemic has made us so much busier, because we have to record and edit and post and do things out of order. This week I, and two members, set the altar up for Easter so I could record Easter and one of the weeks following it, then I took it down and put Holy Thursday back up (it was set up to record on Monday), then after last night, I tore it down for Good Friday – and after that, I get to put Easter back up. It is a strange world we are living in. No complaints – life is good.
Yesterday, as I sat at my computer desperately editing one of the services, we got a phone call. The voice on the other end asked if he could please use our church for a video. Ummm – tell me more. He told me that he is a drag queen who wanted to do a video of the Kesha song, “Praying”. I know this song – it is about coming through abusive treatment and making yourself whole again. In the song, Kesha hopes the person who hurt her is praying, and she says she will pray for that person as well.
Still – I paused and considered, for a moment, what kind of fallout there might be to have a drag queen being videoed in our amazing Sanctuary. Of course, I said yes. It’s only Holy Week, right? Oh, and by the way, he wanted to do it Thursday or Friday. No problem – come on down! He and his videographer came to church last night at 5:30, finished by 6:15, and were out of there in time for me to finish getting ready for church. Just another day in the life of the church.
I tell you this not because I did anything great. I unlocked the doors, turned on the lights, and made some chit-chat while they got their bearings. I went and finished some work, then came back to lock up. I tell you this because it’s things like this that remind me that it doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. I know that many churches would not have said yes, and I understand why. I was able to say yes because I serve a congregation that is (mostly) open to a God that says yes to everyone. I was able to say yes because I believe that Jesus would have said yes. All I had to do was come to church half an hour earlier than I planned – that’s my big (sarcasm) sacrifice.
I also said yes because I think it must have taken a lot for this man to ask this favor. He told me he knew about us, so that encouraged him, but still – churches often lie, and it takes a lot for someone who is hated by most Christians to step out and take this kind of risk. I admit that I hesitated – I know there are some in our congregation who would have argued against my saying yes. There are still some people more worried about optics and what others might think and say than they are about what Jesus would want. I know we are all at different places, and while we need to be sensitive to this, we also need to do the right thing. In that 45 minutes of creating a video, we said yes to a lot more – as a church, we lived up to our Open & Affirming stance that when we say all, we mean all. It was an opportunity that could not be missed – and I have the members and friends of Calvary to thank. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. We just have to be open to the Spirit’s gentle nudging. Our minimal effort might help bring someone joy. I think it’s worth it.
Prayer – God, like Kesha, sang we should all be praying for each other, even when we don’t feel like it. Hope gives life. Amen.
Today’s image is the lyrics from Kesha’s “Praying”.