Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Photo courtesy of Phantom Fireworks)

Okay, I've said it before, but I truly love my online EfM class. I guess you all know that already, though.

Although the online Theological Reflection part is my favorite, I find our Discussion Board quite enlightening, too. Each of us in the various years of the course post our reflections on our study guide lessons, and everyone is free to reflect and respond to anyone's lessons, even if it is not "your" year--sort of like the one room schoolhouse.

What often happens is we get to know each other better through this activity and I find that these discussions, as well as our Theological Reflection sessions, often jump start me in my blogging.

That is precisely what happened this morning as I was catching up to Discussion Board posts.

One of my classmates challenged me (for a humorous reason) to think of myself as "just another Eucharistic candle" when I was working the altar as acolyte. In accepting the challenge, I realized in envisioning myself as a "candle" it would be more like a 4th of July Roman candle or a fireworks mortar shell, shooting bright flaming balls with sparks and crackles.

Anyone who knows me for any length of time knows I have had a lifelong love affair with fireworks, and have been grateful to live in a state where we are allowed to shoot them. As a child, if you had given me a blank sheet of paper and a box of crayons, and told me I could draw "anything I want," odds on it would have been a fireworks stand or people shooting fireworks.

Simply picking out and owning the fireworks and waiting for the 4th of July to arrive was part of the fun. I used to love to look them over, read the labels, imagine what they were going to do. I was allowed to ease my impatience by being allowed to shoot the bottle rockets and firecrackers a little bit before the 4th, but I was never allowed to shoot "the big stuff" until the actual day. I organized and planned and figured out what I wanted to shoot first and what I wanted to save for my big finale.

When the night of the 4th finally arrived, it was a giant nonstop orgy of fireworks...and it didn't matter if I got some out of order, or if a couple were duds, it was overall very VERY satisfying. I don't ever recall having the "gee, it's over," letdown moment, because I was a kid, and my whole life was in front of me, and there would always be "next year." I didn't even mind picking up all the "hulls" the next morning, because I still loved basking in the smell of gunpowder and sulfur one last time until next year.

It should not surprise you that I can still organize a little fireworks show that is sure to satisfy everyone who wants to watch. It should not surprise you that in 1999, I realized I wanted to celebrate Jan 1, 2000 was with fireworks, and hoarded and planned accordingly in July 1999.

So it should not surprise you I see our communal Sunday worship meal in much the same way I see the 4th of July.

Everything from the prelude to the Offertory builds up to "we're all gonna enjoy the fireworks." As we hear the word proclaimed in the readings, as we hear the response to the word in the homily, as we recite the Nicene Creed, share the peace, and bring our gifts forward, it's all good in its own right but we all really know it's to get to the "table" part. Just like how, on the 4th of July, we enjoy the company, the watermelon and the corn on the cob taste great, but we are REALLY waiting for the fireworks. We can pretend these other things are "just as important," but for those of us who prefer Eucharistically-centered liturgical worship, the other things are to support the experience at the table.

For me, shooting fireworks is shooting fireworks whether I'm doing it on my own or in front of a crowd. I still have just as much fun doing it. By the same token, the Eucharist is the Eucharist, whether we have it in a home setting, at a hospital bed, under a state park shelter house, or at church.

But oh, my, what a fine production the whole Sunday morning experience can be, with so many opportunities to participate in the worship experience! I don't care which role I have...I just want to be there. I have never felt disappointed afterward. There's always next week. I don't even mind helping Altar Guild put stuff away after it's all over--I still smell the bread and wine just as I smelled the pyrotechnic stuff on July 5.

There have been times, knowing how much I like being "the fireworks shooter" on the 4th of July, that I have pondered what it must feel like being the "Eucharistic fireworks shooter." I know with my fireworks, it's not so much about "me enjoying my fireworks," it's about the fireworks...and it doesn't matter if two people are watching me shoot them or twenty...because the focus is on the fireworks. It's fun to have the privilege, but I would enjoy watching someone else's fireworks shooting endeavor just as much, and often do. But I also know people have told me there is a sparkle in my eye, a spring in my step, a lilt to my laughter as I go about lighting fuses, running, and standing and awaiting the action.

It seems to me that for anyone presiding over the Eucharist, it oughta be that way too--to be able to grin and welcome all to the glory of God's table whether it is Easter or a funeral--because at that table is love and hope. Always. What's not to be excited about? Every day with fireworks is the 4th of July, and every Sunday Eucharist is Easter all over again.


I wish I could get here to read your posts more often. My head is ablaze with the fireworks of your word and spirit!

Thank you so much Maria, thank you!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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