This Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday, and is being celebrated at a local church by an interesting event.........the U2charist. It is a service involving the Eucharist (communion) and the music of U2, and all of the offering for the evening is given to the UN's Millenium Development Goals, which focuses on global poverty, HIV/AIDS prevention & treatment, and women's health issues. It sounds pretty great, and I hope to be there. For all you Santa Cruzans......this Tuesday, Feb. 20th @ Calvary Episcopal (red church downtown, next to the Nick), 7:00pm.
"Low-Church" or How I Survived a Happy-Clappy Sunday School
I took a quick trip around the Googlesphere, and this U2charist thing seems to be all the rage in Episcopalian circles. I am not an Episcopalian. Though I grew up going to church, I don't think I even heard the word 'Episcopalian' until I was an adult. We were very low church. I am drawn to the beauty often found in the music, liturgy of these churches. My earliest church memories are at Beulah Park, a run down old church camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I think I was 5. It was always very cold, and our church met there for cheap. My Sunday school class met in one of the outbuildings and I distinctly remember singing the Father Abraham song really loud, but with some confusion. (Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you! So let's all praise the Lord! Right arm, left arm, right foot, left foot, turn around, sit down !) Who is this Father Abraham guy? Is he my father? If so, why do we only talk about God and Jesus? Is this church thing really about Father Abraham? I think around this time I heard the song 'Rock-a my soul in the bosom of Abraham' and that really creeped me out. Am I in some sort of Father Abraham cult? (I don't know how I even knew about cults, at age 5, but there you go. Growing up in Santa Cruz in the late 70's.) And the 'You can't get to heaven on roller skates' song I think I took literally for a little while, too. How did we survive the theology of our Sunday School songs? 'Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam'? Or the 'I'm in-right out-right up-right down-right happy all the time' song, now there's some classic denial for you. I think the songs we teach our kids could stand some updating, like the end of 'Jesus Loves the Little Children'"....all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." I cringe a little bit with that one. I'm so glad Jesus is real and all the nonsense sounding songs actually pointed to something true. Someone true. He was worth the slog through all the confusion, insipidity and happy-clappy-ness that often characterized my early church life. I didn't know He was with me then, sitting next to me, and helping me not to feel so alone, so confused, so self-conscious. I hope G. can feel Him with her, too.
photo by my personal friend, Tim Swanson, taken off the Ayrshire Coast.