Hello St. Paul’s,
Did you know that playfulness is a quality reserved by nature for mammals? The more primitive brain of a reptile or fish lacks the components that allow play and humor. Maybe that’s why dinosaurs always seem to be deadly serious in the movies.
The ability to be playful is a sign that we have highly evolved brains. It’s also a gift from God: the creativity and imagination of the Holy Spirit is a playful quality; the seemingly random beauty of the natural world suggests a Creator who plays with the possibilities of color, shape, and movement. How else can we explain the rainbow, the sunset, the blossom, or the stunning beauty of outer space that we are now seeing thanks to the Webb telescope?
Playfulness is good for our souls. Play nurtures relationships. It corrects perspective. It distracts us from grim realities and provides respite from anxiety. The tendency to take ourselves too seriously is something we should always strive to correct: in life, in work, and even in church.
I had a clergy colleague in Virginia whose whole ministry was based on playfulness. He would wear a clown’s costume, add bells to his vestments, juggle and tumble, to loosen up his fellow clergy at workshops. Some of us needed more loosening than others!
So, if playfulness is of God, why not be playful in church? We can be serious in our commitment to God’s kingdom and at the same time be playful in our worship: playfulness and respect are not mutually exclusive. As this week goes on San Diego will fill up with playful people: it’s always worth a drive down to the Convention Center neighborhood to see some of the amazing costumes that people create. And we want to share in that playfulness and celebrate that creativity.
So, this weekend we will celebrate our first ComicCon Sunday at St. Paul’s. If you or someone you know is participating in Comic Con, please invite them to come to the 10:30 service in full costume. Or wear your favorite Halloween costume! Let your imagination have full rein: I promise you won’t be turned away. We will pray Eucharistic Prayer C, fondly known as the Star Wars prayer for its mention of “the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile Earth, our island home”. And you might hear some prayers specially composed for the occasion.
See you on Sunday!
Your sister in Christ,