(The pictures are all from my phone, so please excuse the quality)
Anyway, Rebekah took me to Orlando for my birthday yesterday and we had much fun attending a performance by "The Blue Man Group." Imagine, if you will, a combination act that blends the attributes of a group of mimes, a troupe of clowns, the comedian Gallagher (food humor!), and a tribe of Smurfs.
It was silly, plain and simple. But definitely lots of fun in a wacky sort of way. By the end of the show the entire audience was involved, on its feet, throwing huge rolls of paper around the auditorium, yelling at the tops of our voices. The whole experience moved to the primal beat of drums. All in all, a very interesting social dynamic.
After the show we walked over to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and ate on the porch. It was a perfectly beautiful, balmy, Florida Spring night. I, of course, ordered the "Cheeseburger in Paradise". Rebekah persuaded me not to sing my order... "I like mine with lettuce and tomato - Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes. Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer....." I behaved!
We talked about birthdays past. Rebekah first owned up to loving me on my 21st, 33 years ago! She also took me to Orlando that night. But Universal wasn't built and the Blue Men didn't exist (they were just a twinkle in Papa Smurf's eye). Back in 1977 we went to "The Holiday House" restaurant and watched the original Rocky - it was a good night all around.
There is a kind of suspended reality present in the Orlando theme-park culture. Everything is perfect, maintained just so, and the scale is a little under-sized. It all works together so that the visitors feel larger-than-life. It's fun, for an evening, especially the perfect Florida evening, with the perfect woman, celebrating the year I hit my sweet spot (Yesterday's post!).
But as a rule I prefer reality. Reality tomorrow is Palm Sunday, where my faith community will celebrate the present and life-charged reality of God-with-us in the context of an excitement-filled beginning to Holy Week.
And this is the Holy Week we have been preparing for all along, as we've journeyed these "40-days" of Lent. I hope you've been traveling with me. If not, take some time tomorrow to seek out a place of worship, and be deliberate about framing this Easter week with worship, with the encouragement and support of a faith-community that is serious about following Jesus.
This may seem a strange message alongside a poster of a "Blue Man"... But it's not. The whole point has been and will continue to be that God is with us and is animating us in every moment of every day - birthdays and fun-times not the least excluded....
See you in church - DEREK