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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Give (the) PEACE a Chance

British cartoonist Dave Walker always makes me laugh. Well, nearly always. He has a real eye for the Real Life of Anglican congregations - even the Episcopal varieties Across the Pond.

I have some of these folk in my congregation. I'll bet you do, too.

Indeed, the Passing of the Peace in many churches, including mine, has become less a liturgical device and more of a "Half Time Event".

In fact, during Lent, I move the Passing of the Peace to what I understand was its historic place in the Liturgy - right after the Eucharistic prayers and just before the Lord's Prayer.

Except, I understand that the Lord's Prayer always ended the Prayers of the People.

I'm reminded of that old saying: 'all liturgy is innovation'.

And, of course, "the only thing worse than negotiating with a terrorist is negotiating with a liturgist." Except, at least with a terrorist, you have a chance of having a reasonably sane conversation with a positive outcome.

I have found that it does help a bit to put the focus more on the liturgy and less on a "mini Coffee Hour" experience. This is especially appropriate during Lent.

The H1N1 virus or "Swine Flu" pandemic is changing all of that. To wit - this latest cartoon from the inner recesses of the brilliant mind of Our Dave.

I'm sort of partial to the "Text Message of Peace" myself. I wonder how long it will take to develop the "Twitter of Peace". Wait! That's already happening from certain NYC churches where parts of the service - especially the sermon - are being 'tweeted'.

Or, perhaps, the "FaceBook of Peace" - with a special "I'm a Fan of Passing the Peace" group page.

I've been wondering - if the pandemic manifests itself in as a local epidemic, will we have to resort to Eucharists on iChat with our laptop cameras?

It's just a natural extension of technology - well, as natural as technology has already become in our lives.

If we did that, however, we'd miss out on this processional innovation.

Like I said, Dave Walker always makes me laugh. Not exactly the worst preventative medicine.

As the drum beat of anxiety about the Influenza Epidemic steadily increases amidst the cacophony of concerns like rising unemployment, economic instability, health care reform and the higher volume of whispers of impending schism, The 'Church of God's Frozen Chosen' could certainly use a few prophylactic doses.


Unknown said...

A couple of years back we had a fellow from the Diocese of Connecticut who was an Episcopal comedian (bet you thought they didn't exist!) and he used the example of people who pass the peace as if they might get a traveling call on them if they moved their pivot foot - thus making all passing of the peace a local event ! He also had a nice comparison of new lay readers who tie into some of Paul's longish sentences and the wait in the lines for rides at Disneyworld! Somebody, anybody - what's the guy's name?

Anonymous said...

This is great, Elizabeth! Thanks for blessing us with this excellent church humor!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

My apologies - Blogspot seems to have the hiccups again. This in from KJ

As a borderline germaphobe (Family litany: "Borderline?), I get a bit of a chuckle out of the new concerns. Welcome to my world!

Having said that, unless I have a nasty cold, I always head out to greet others during the peace. In our large, cathedral parish, there are always the "looky-loos" present, but we are also a bit of an island of misfit toys with other misfits at different levels of brokenness checking us out. So, I share the peace, which I think of as more of a prayer than a greeting.

AND, the really big news is that I can now take Communion from the big cup with the grown ups. It took awhile, bit I did it!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Clumber - I think I know the guy. He's fabulous. Name? Uh, now you're pushing your luck. It will come to me. Eventually. First, I have to find my keys. '~D

Fran said...

I keep thinking of things that I want to write about "flu-charist."


I love these cartoons and your musings Elizabeth, but how I worry.

There is such a movement among many in the RC church to use the flu to undo things that they just don't like- such as the kiss of peace and drinking from the cup.

It makes me very upset.

As I see it, one should feel free to not participate in drinking from the cup, but that the cup should be available. To see it on the altar table and consumed only by the prirest, deacon and so forth, but denied to the community smacks of a lack of generosity that is not of Christ.

Oh see, it takes so little to get me on a rant!

PS- my stepdaughter has a cold, which seemed to take a huge step forward in development at about the time that mass started. I asked her not to give peace and to not drink from the cup.

She was not happy, but complied. Just trying to apply good sense where needed.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Yes, Fran. It's like that one smug character in Dave's cartoon who is pleased that s/he "was right in the first place" about Passing the Peace. The good thing about the Flu Season is that it's just a season - not our ongoing reality.

Diana Studer said...

I will be linking back to you tomorrow for my Dona Nobis Pacem post. Thanking you for the Peace cartoon!