In the Easter Sunday procession I carried a streamer. The worship space at Ascension is prefect for a streamer: high roof, beautiful warm wood ceiling, lots of light, a long center aisle and plenty of room in front of the altar.
The streamer is an expression of the Spirit’s presence and joy — not my joy but the church’s joy. I carry it for the community, the whole community. Joy is an existential reality in the Christian life. It is a gift of the Spirit. Sometimes joy bubbles up and becomes a present experience. Sometimes it is quiet, hidden beneath the sadness that life can bring.
With a streamer in hand it is my task to express that joy, regardless of whether or not I feel it, regardless of if anyone else feels it. The day of resurrection call forth the joy that is present in the Christian reality.
Still I sometimes wonder about what I’m doing on Easter Day. My own fears and questions are present: Will my playfulness be misread as shallowness? Will my delight be seen as naivety? Will my sense of fun cause folk not to take me seriously as a priest? Will people be offended because I’m too demonstrative? Will my intellect be dismissed because I give expression to my emotions? Will my maturity be questioned because my work with the streamer is seen as childlike play?
And yet, I hear the music and I hear the people of God sing, “Alleluia!” My heart fills with delight and I want to lift God’s people higher and bring them closer to the One who shares our humanity and knows what it’s like to laugh and dance and sing. Could the risen Christ not have a crazy grin on his face this day? He has just had the last laugh on death. Can anything hold back holy mirth? Not on this day.
And so I carry a streamer. As David danced with all his might before the Lord, so I wave this streamer with all I have. I spend my strength so that God’s people might smile.