The view from the balcony (prior to the arrival of the pope).
The Century Ballroom was packed to its lovely rafters yesterday for Pastor Kaleb's 14th annual nondenominational-in-the-extreme Easter Sunday service. Friends greeted friends, children ran amok, and headdresses of all kinds showed evidence of the hellfire of the hot glue gun in the affixing of innumerable plastic eggs, Peeps, and other Easter finery. Sari Breznau conducted the Old Lady Choir, consisting of a couple dozen very motley persons of apparent advanced age (or at least wearing wigs of advanced age) in pastel attire (an especial brava to the pants-suited). Pastor Kaleb, outfitted in a black vest with rainbow spangles and a row of Easter eggs strapped across his chest like so many candy-filled grenades, exhorted the crowd on the topic of "fools for spring" as the sun beamed its accord and floral-scented breezes blew in the Ballroom's open windows on the greatest day ever known to all of humanity.
Pastor Kaleb noted that the Ballroom has long been a venue beloved by both those light on their feet and light in the loafers, excoriated the dance tax as the congregation roared its approval, and noted that all those present, "up before the crack of noon," could now "tell your parents, just this once without lying, that you went to church on Easter."
He also spoke on the theme of anger, first comedically, noting that among other things this past year, his washing machine caught on fire ("Our WASHER! I am an ANGRY MAN!"). He then segued into the losses of loved ones in the community, honoring the attendant helpless anger that was universally felt and so difficult to let go. People wept.
Chas Roberts gave a charming guest homily, referencing Skrillex and the Fresh Prince on the flower-strewn stage, and urging the good people to "celebrate the light" and look forward to summertime skinny-dipping. As appropriate to the occasion, many bloody Marys were consumed. Among the multitude of happy faces in the crowd: local arts luminaries Rainbow Fletcher and Greg Lundgren; director of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Randy Engstrom; ESPN's Loren Schwartz; Willy Wonka. The surprise guest of honor: Pope Benedict, in full pope regalia, who toured the screaming crowd on a gilded walker, took the stage, did some blessedly brief slam poetry, and then was revealed to be harboring giant bunny ears under his mitre. "I always wondered why the hat was so tall!" Pastor Kaleb exclaimed.
Pastor Kaleb peppered his sermon with sometimes mystifyingly short but still always somehow meaningful readings from the current issue of The Stranger, closing with one from the Toys R Us insert: "Quantities limited; no rain checks."