Peacemeal’s creative story-telling got through to one ‘church leaver’

Paige Hansen urges churches to host Peacemeal; its message is both timely and timeless.Dear Pastors,

I’ve become that person who just shows up to your church for Christmas and Easter. (I’m pretty sure I used to pray for people like me). Despite a childhood and teen years spent actively involved in the church I’ve got a story (just like you have yours) and in the past 20 years I’ve become more of a “church leaver” than a “church goer.”

Right now I am choosing to find my community outside the traditional church walls. And this would be okay, except that I’ve got kids. I can’t help but be fearful that I am or may be shortchanging them on this whole introduction to God thing. And despite my lack of weekly attendance at church – helping my kids find their wholeness is the most important thing I will do for them.

And that’s how I found myself in a church basement on Maundy Thursday with my kids watching a show called Peacemeal. It was my Easter Sunday “workaround.” It was my backdoor in. And what a backdoor in it was.

Justyn Rees is a master story-teller.

Justyn Rees is a master story-teller.

The hour-and-a-half show featured the soulful, passionately connected vocals of Russ Rosen, two multi-talented band members – Brett Ziegler and Chad Bjorgan – and story-teller extraordinaire Justyn Rees.

Rees, playing four different characters with four different regional English accents, dislodged and decontextualized the familiarity of the Easter story in such a way that I “heard it.” My nine and 11 year olds heard it too.

Peacemeal tells the story of the Last Supper in a way that made me see it not a seasonal pastel tale to be packed up in a tupperware bin at the end of March. It was an invitation to leave the bin out all year. It helped me to see the relevance of Christ’s message in a world where just last week there was yet another terrorist attack.

Russ Rosen is a multi-talented musician.

Russ Rosen is a multi-talented musician.

The pull to fear and hate is strong right now. Peacemeal is a call to become more familiar with the meal offered at the last supper than the annual trek to church on Easter Sunday. It made the “why” of Easter relevant.

I have gone to church on Easter Sunday my whole life by walking through the front door. It’s familiar to me. I “get it.” And that’s a dangerous feeling . . . feeling like you just “get it.” That’s a rote response to what is supposed to be a living breathing relationship with the Almighty.

Suddenly with my backdoor workaround . . . I found myself seated at the family kitchen table ready to eat and drink in a transformative relationship.

Paige Hansen

Paige Hansen

By now, chocolate is on sale at every retail store, and Mother’s Day stuff is being carted out for sale. Easter will get put away. This show shouldn’t be put away anymore than Easter should be.

Our world is in a mess. We are in a mess and we need a table. We need a “Peace Meal.” Invite this show to your Sunday service, to your church basement, to your church gymnasium, to a small group. Better yet invite the community to this table. Start a conversation around a meal. And If I haven’t done a good job of convincing you to book this show – ask anyone who has seen it. I have no doubt that they will agree.

Go here to contact Russ Rosen and Justyn Rees about bringing Peacemeal to your church, or wherever people gather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.