Tuesday, April 01, 2008


On this first of April, I didn't feel much like joking. More than one friend is dealing with serious loss. And last week in Iowa City (though not at our church), a brutal and senseless tragedy resulted in the death of five family members. A thousand people attended the funeral; friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers alike still report trouble sleeping. Our rector went to help out today as a member of the city's critical incident stress management team. The rest of us on staff, as a sign of affection, sprang into action when he slipped out before lunch.

Because he loves a good joke, we transformed his office in a matter of minutes. Using several potted palm trees as tall as humans, some sizeable forsythia plants, Easter lilies, and every other green thing we could find, we created a jungle. Soon, there was no clear pathway to his desk and it was almost impossible to move without whacking a big plant. Perfect! Our parish administrator found a ferocious lion online and pasted our rector's mug shot into the center, with a caption reading "King of the Jungle" for his door. We accomplished amazingly quick teamwork, especially with both the organist's and the sexton's help carrying the biggest palm "trees."

I think that playing together helped all of us, in more ways than we know. The reaction we got? Holy, hearty laughter. And, besides, it's always good to remember: it's a jungle out there.


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