[b]Note to Self: Bring Big Floppy Shoes and Round Red Nose to Church May 22[/b]
Whose fool are you? asks the Rev. Dr. James Herbert Cooper, rector of Trinity Church-St. Pauls Chapel, as he introduces the Clown Eucharist that will be held at Trinity on May 22 at the 11:15 am service. Please note that only the 11:15 service at Trinity will be a Clown Eucharist. In addition to the regular services (8 am St. Paul's Chapel, 9 am Trinity Church), a traditional service will be held at St. Paul's Chapel at 11:15. Please see the video links below for more.
The clown: symbol of "divine foolishness."
Dear Parish Family,
On May 22, Trinity Sunday, we will have a Clown Eucharist, "doing church" as if we were a circus come to town. We will celebrate the Eucharist and learn about the basic traditional outline for Eucharistic worship by experiencing it and participating in it from a new perspective.
It will likely be a surprise to see clowns inside Trinity Church, but think about it this way: how we perceive the world in light of our relationship with Jesus could rightly be called foolish. Jesus looked at things in a new and strange way - a foolish way. But, as St. Paul said, the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of the world. Paul declared himself a fool for Christ's sake.
He held that in common with a Trinity clergyman of years ago, who I understand would walk up and down Wall Street at noon carrying a sandwich board printed with the words: Im a fool for
Clown Eucharist Discovery Class
With the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper
the back of his board read, Whose fool are you?
We are all fools of one sort or another. Gods foolishness is light, joy, and life. Mans foolishness is darkness, despair, and death. In the clown, God has shot from his cannon for us a vivid symbol of divine foolishness.
Clowns represent the underdog, the lowly, the remnant people. Their foolishness is a call to unpretentiousness. They take incredible risks - balancing on tight ropes, eating fire, keeping silent, being poked by others, or getting soaked in water. Clowns are parables in themselves, spending great amounts of energy uncovering small things, then showing forth the hidden treasure of life (like the kingdom of God) and, surprisingly to us, giving their most cherished possessions to others.
In rodeos, clowns protect people. In other scenarios, the clown may be down and out, but he is also continually raised up by a spirit within, lifting our own spirits as he overcomes life's stumbling blocks. Clowns look at the world, like parables, inside out and upside down: the last shall be first, the smallest seed is the greatest tree, and those who work all day get paid the same as those who worked an hour. To the world, this is foolishness.
Yet foolishnessthe foolishness of Godis wiser than man. It brings light, laughter, joy, renewal, salvation, and life. Whose fool are you?
Years ago, I saw a film created by the Rev. Floyd Shaffer on clown ministry and worship. I hope you will find the opportunity to read his recent book, If I Were a Clown, prior to our worship together on May 22.
All are invited to come in clown dress, big hats, floppy shoes or some sort of foolish garb. Those watching on the Internet might even be foolish enough to put on some white face or a big grease-paint smile as we worship God and learn about the structure of the Eucharist by being the circus which came to town and to church on that day. I look forward to worshiping with you.
Posted on Trinity News, April 27, 2005
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