Ain’t No Party Like a Club 45 Party!
or The Element of Theological Surprise
What do you get when you combine balloons, panty hose, a giant sling shot, a lima bean, face paint, and several rolls of toilet paper? An Epiphany!
Let me back up a bit. For those of you unfamiliar with the term Club 45, an explanation is in order. Club 45 refers to the graduates of the KidzTown Children’s Ministry program who are in fourth and fifth grade. Are they children? Not quite. Are they youth? Not yet. Are they a small band of boisterous, preteen, mischief-making disciples poised to contribute uniquely to the life and mission of Embry Hills United Methodist Church? Exactly!
Do they contribute regularly? Yes! They decorate Snack Sax bags, attend their very own Sunday School Class, tally Chili Cook Off Ballots, raise money for Heifer International, and so much more. They are always on the move. So, when it comes time to party and relax, they know how it is done!
They threw a phenomenal Halloween Party, complete with smoke machine, haunted house, spooky potions, and apple bobbing. Why a Halloween Party? Because with God, we have nothing to fear, so instead we have fun! You would think a group like this would go all out for a Christmas party. Yet Advent came and went, and Club 45 celebrated with the rest of us at A Night in Bethlehem, but didn’t have their own festivities. Why not?
Well, Christmas is important, of course. But when Mary, the travel-weary new mother of God, is trying to get a fussy Christ to sleep in a sheep’s trough, it is no time for confetti. So Club 45ers waited patiently (a good Advent practice) to celebrate the Incarnation in the traditional fashion: Epiphany! When three kings from afar bring presents to a well rested young family a couple of days later–it is time to party! We celebrated Epiphany the ol’ fashioned way. We left our shoes at the door and hoped the Wisemen would leave us treats, a practice still done in parts of Germany. We did the 1st Annual Fruit Cake Toss, much like it is done in Colorado. And we searched for the bean in the King Cake, a tradition often associated with Mardi Gras, but which actually began in Great Britain on Twelfth Night centuries ago.
In Club 45, we believe play, joy, and community are important parts of God’s call on our lives. Parties can be a powerful time to invite and get to know new friends and to forget ourselves, which is at the heart of the Gospel. Indeed, I have called this ability to forget ourselves and our hang ups the 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Get Over It.” What better way to get over yourself than to stick your hands into a delicious, albeit ugly cake and look for a bean with your bare hands? We talk a lot about finding God in the breaking of bread, but Epiphany and Twelfth Night remind us that God is everywhere. God is in the strangers who followed a star and brought weird gifts that a baby couldn’t use. God is in a bright clementine stuffed in a shoe by a door in the middle of winter. God is in the tossing of fruitcake among friends. God is in Club 45.
So what about the balloons, panty hose, face paint, and several rolls of toilet paper? Well, I guess you will just have to join us next year to find out!