The Power of a Funny Apron

Hosea 6:6

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Reflection by Lillian Daniel

On Sunday nights, our church houses and feeds about 60 homeless people in Pilgrim Hall through a program called PADS.   Sylvia, one of our church members who volunteers with the program, sent me this note:

“I was cooking for PADS this weekend – we grilled chicken and brats for the guests’ Sunday dinner.  While I was running from grills to kitchen and back again, I was wearing my God is Still Speaking “No Burnt Offerings” apron.
A couple of PADs guests stopped me to say they thought it was great – religious but funny, too.  I happen to think that is a great way to sum up our denomination – serious about what needs to be serious, but always willing to lighten it up to get the message across.”

I thought this was an excellent testimony to the many ways in which we share our faith. Some people are comfortable with conversation, but that’s not the only way to communicate. In this case, by wearing her UCC apron, Sylvia was able to open up some meaningful conversations that would not have happened otherwise.

I have heard a lot of stories like this, from people who wear a comma pin or carry something that points to our church. Years ago when we began these devotionals, we came up with the theme “whimsical piety.” Another way to say it might be “religious but funny.” You can care about justice and still have a sense of humor. You can take God seriously but yourself less so. You can appreciate the weighty things and still be light in spirit. Welcome to the UCC, where God is still speaking.


Bless us with whimsy and piety in a world that needs more of both. Amen.

About the Author
Lillian Daniel is the senior minister of the First Congregational Church, UCC, Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She is the author, with Martin Copenhaver, of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: the Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers.