Dixie Darr

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

In Home, spirituality on June 5, 2017 at 6:20 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the congregation bursts into applause when the pastor enters the sanctuary singing, you know you’re in for a treat. #bestserviceEVER”

I posted that when I got home from church and lunch at Carl’s yesterday. What made it the best service EVER?

First, my friends were there. I saw Kathryn and Dan and Max and Holly and Michael and Elly and Alex and Ashley and Carolyn and Cristina, all of whom make me happy.

We laughed, we cried, we danced in the aisles. Well, okay, we didn’t dance in the aisles (except one three-year-old who couldn’t contain her joy) because that would be unseemly in church. But we have been known to sway with gusto to the music.

Speaking of the music, it was fabulous. The choir made a joyful noise, and during the offertory, Nhi, our pianist, ripped into an excerpt from Rhapsody in Blue that had us all tapping our feet and counting our blessings to have had such a gifted musician as part of our service for the past year and mourning our loss as she moves to Stony Brook to earn her doctorate.

We had nostalgia and righteous indignation and hope.

Pastor Brad entered the sanctuary singing the theme to Mr. Rogers and proceeded to change from a suit jacket to a cardigan and slip from his dress shoes into rainbow-colored sneakers because June is Pride month. (http://eos/10108046567406311/) We all laughed and applauded, and a few people cried. His sermon, not surprisingly, invited us to be neighbors. Good neighbors.

Displayed on the altar was a neighborhood quilt made by the creative women on our quilting team that depicted the church and other neighborhood landmarks, including the public bike repair station our green team installed. We hung it at the Street Fair Saturday, and dozens of our neighbors cheerfully complied when we asked them to tie a knot and say a prayer or make a wish for the community.

He told us he attended the first Latino Gay Pride event the previous week to offer a prayer and then stepped in when the scheduled priest pulled out at the last minute because his church hierarchy forbade him to appear. Think about that. His church wouldn’t allow him to give people God’s blessing.

A drag queen in attendance said our pastor’s prayer and homily made her feel wholly loved by God for the first time ever. That’s when I cried.

We celebrated Pride month with a rainbow of candles in the candle tree, those rainbow sneakers, and tee shirts with our motto, “We are PROUD that God loves all people.”

At communion, people gasped when Pastor Brad broke the bread open to reveal the rainbow colors inside. They must be new. We do that every year.

I’m so happy to call this church home. If you want me to sum up this best-ever service with one word, it’s love. I wish you all could have been there.

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