The Realm of God is Like a Renaissance Fair
Jesus said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” – Mark 4:21-23 (NRSV)
People have really upped their costume game at the Renaissance Fair since I was a kid. Gone are the days of repurposed bathrobes and quarterstaffs that were clearly just hiking sticks. On a recent day at the Renn Fair I saw exceptional satyrs, Peter Jackson-esque elves, and one individual dressed very convincingly as a centaur riding a unicycle. It made more sense than it sounds like, I promise.
It’s a lot more diverse than I remember, too. And I mean diverse in all the ways. There were people of all races, ages, orientations, identities, and fandoms. Fanfic authors stood in line beside steampunk cosplayers, gamer girls beside medieval military history buffs, crystal-toting astrologists conversed with Flying Spaghetti Monster devotees, and starry-eyed five-year-olds were leading them. And the best part? Everyone just looked like … themselves. Comfortable in their own skin, at ease among their community, guards down, light shining for all to see. It was a little glimpse of the realm of God.
The realm of God is all around me, if I put on my listening ears. It is in church fellowship halls and Renn Fair jousting rings. The realm of God appears sometimes like the careful parsing of the hypostatic union of Christ’s humanity and divinity. And other times God’s realm goes joyfully Morris-dancing around all our theologizing, calling our names through laughter to join in the fun.
God of all people, help us know your face!
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.