I’ll tell you a tale, wide as the sky, deep as the sea, please suspend your disbelief and consider with me… The Holy Game that wheeled in and planted down like a dream, among us in the year of two thousand thirteen. Now you must know the world was dark, markets consuming at a fast clip. The resources of the Earth were being plundered and out-stripped. To help the monster of our economy survive a depression, politics were run by profit, amplifying ancient transgressions Systematic oppression and war crimes were barely making news. The awful costs of this way of life were often hidden and diffuse. People refusing to wake up while political upheaval became the norm. People were clinging to denial while Climate Change was pounding us with storms. But in this dark time a light burned with persistence, as a traveling band sought to embody the Carnival de Resistance They wheeled into town on one twelfth of September and sang of another way, and asked all to remember… A story of reverence and love for the Earth, of life-giving disciplines that protect her deep worth. In the 50th year in the life of a bold people- called Trinity -a harvest moon shone bright on it’s year of Jubilee. As that church believed God speaks to a disenchanted world, the ancient Sukkot became real, as a Big Top’s flaps were unfurled. Carnival Gear and bicycles spilled out on Trinity’s lawn. A family was being formed- “let’s seize the day!” the game was on. In no time, the modest camp started acting like a village- serving, creating- freely giving was the true privilege. They modeled old and new ways, not taking energy for granted- they Pedal-powered sound, cooked with twig fires and lit-up old lanterns. In the span of the second day, the hard work and the play spread across the Carnival grounds in a miraculous way! Tents up, signs posted, fabric flags and light strings, Costumes and facepaint, creative bits and bizarre playthings. Thatch threshold, broken clocktower, Trash made into backdrop walls, Web of twine spun round our heads… The world lit up, we stood in awe. Now having created a magical container, these teachers and dreamers put on the garb of entertainers. Offering liturgical productions with poetic eloquence They helped us to hear the ancient cry of the 4 elements But before we sat still for the evening’s theatrical play, they called us to participate in their creative Midway. They invited us to play- teaching games that goad and challenge, they juggled and spun tales, and showed us their mind-reading talents. They featured artists that escape and man-eating-plants, clowns that cart-wheeled, and juggling balls that danced. The doors of imagination were no longer shut- The puppets came to life and our strings were cut. Then the musicians climbed onto stage and sang of rebirth, on the opening night through the voice of the EARTH. They danced the hoop dance, drummed songs from land-based ancestors. they spoke as the voice of the forest, and lifted up modern resisters; they painted the walls and sang of animal vision; They danced with tree limbs and shared the old cedar’s admonition. Singing lamentations in heart-breaking harmonies, they reminded us of the relevance of the old prophecies. The next night the breeze swirled round, wind blew through our hair… That was the time when we listened to AIR. Ruach and Breath, Prayers lifted on wing and wind, Mother Spirit Bird and Dark Omen Trickster had business to attend. Judgement and Hope… reflecting on how we’ve gone astray… Caw, Caw, Caws did they send, through that most theatrical of days! But their theology held tight, under a full-moonlit night, Raven and Dove showed how darkness is quite intimate with light. The days after the performance, this motley crew gave precedence to engaging the minds and hearts of the local residents. Down along the new bike path, by the protected “greenway”, a treehouse was built without asking for pay. A beautiful platform all built by hand, by a red-headed gnome and a daredevil Mexican. And across the street, at a community place a loving sign was painted, but then quickly erased, by local officials with paperwork and laws And bureaucratic processes with spiritual flaws. Then, a paint-speckled hobo, an ambassador of compassion, “Amen!”… who met the moment as a true holy fool… He befriended many, enticing anyone to help fashion a mural in the halls of a Mennonite school. At this same Christian institution, of great imagination, carnies led classes and chapels, expert choice through chancy exploration. Each brought their wisdom, checking business as usual calling students to dream of relationships that are healthy and mutual. One, a laughing scholar, sister with supernova inner light- She could teach like no one’s business, and could dance (for a Mennonite)! and over across the town, a songwriting kitchen clown was joining generations and showing how to get down to grab your own ideas and write songs while you play to celebrate a simple gift of being creative everyday Then they all joined in a parade and color spilled out in the street They rode around on “crazy bikes” and drummed a hopeful beat the musical rally cry was “Power-Down—Lift UP!” local voices joined together as an overflowing cup! The next weekend, ancient voices once again churned first through the WATER cycle, an eternal return. John the Baptist called us to a dirty baptism, to feel the pain of our sludge and our scum, and Miriam danced through power schisms, and dared us all to follow her drum She sang that the health of the water is tied to mother land, and if we ravish her flesh, her womb dries up like desert sand. John boomed that this entire planet must find its salvation, through restoration that comes through total re-hydration- And not just focused on some wealthy nation, but for all life that’s contained in this vast creation. Many cultures cried out- into one giant baptismal call The divine feminine summoned a whirlpool and all were enthralled. We danced celebration, the night dissolving all borders- As we were beckoned to wade thru deep and chaotic waters. The rain that was summoned drenched the world the next day They had all promised a finale of FIRE— but would it come? they prayed. Still folks filed under the tent, making merry, though some were soaked till at the appointed hour, the clouds rolled back and the weather broke. Starting with a timbrel-rattling, chime-ringing, processional; They spiraled through a flame wielding, fire breathing spectacle. Led by a pregnant sunflower, the light of spiritual revelation. And the bones that were scorched by centuries of oppression And they asked us to consider, fire as destruction or transformation? The images they embodied blazed the night beautiful and fearsome. Flames spun! fans swung! Wings lit with mystical desire! Burning wicks bent as drums crashed, mocking the tyranny of empire! Drone warfare on TV screens, prison cages of barbed wire They tore the veil as they sung a holy chant to age-old wildfire. Then the smoke cleared And a new day begun We wondered what was next But found—they were gone! And though they taught us things are not always what they seem we who remember know that it was not just a dream. They drew us through lament, easing the pain with grace They put a clown nose on the skull and laughed in death’s face! For although there is violence and such great disconnection We are a people who believe in the power of resurrection!