Here’s another installment of “The Mystery of Christ...and Wow, It Moves in Mysterious Ways”.
I had been thinking that I needed to spend some time in meditation and prayer as we get closer to Election Day. The exposure this week to all the fears of opponents of equality for gay people wasn’t sinking in with me, but it wasn’t going away either. So, I had a little time around lunch on Friday and figured I would go to St. John’s for the noon-day eucharist, get that spiritual shot in the arm, and go back out into the world in peace.
It was Friday, and so Fr. Lee Graham was the celebrant. I like him. He’s kind and unpretentious. And I have learned through other members of St. John’s that he has a long history of always looking out for those who society has forgotten.
I arrived early enough that I was able to sit in the chapel, quiet my mind, and be present and focused. Ready to receive, so that I would be able to give.
So I was blown away when what I received was a homily I had not asked for, and hadn’t expected.
The gospel lesson had been from Luke, a story in which Jesus heals a man with dropsy in front of the Pharisees after asking if it wasn’t OK to do this on the Sabbath (he was at a Pharisee home for the Sabbath meal). Fr. Lee referred to this story as one of the many moments in which the law keepers of the day tried to trap Jesus into doing something wrong, wrong, wrong. And, as it always happened, Jesus deflected the finger-wagging by turning the mirror around and asking an introspective question that often left his accusers speechless. As Fr. Lee noted, these folks were hung up on the letter of the laws in Leviticus, and their absolute literal interpretation of said law. At which point, Fr. Lee segued into today’s world…and the coming election in Florida where some people would like to have their literal biblical interpretation of marriage become part of the state constitution.
“Oh. My. God,” I could feel the tears coming to my eyes. “Is this happening?”
Fr. Lee went on to say that the trouble with marriages isn’t homosexuals. The trouble in marriages is heterosexuals. This drew a laugh from one of the other attendees of the service. He spoke of how wrong it would be to separate out a group of people, our neighbors, for discrimination and denial of rights and dignity of humanness. And his conclusion was simple: Amendment Two is wrong. A couple of tears escaped and rolled down my cheek. To listen to this homily was like having someone place their hand on my back, assuring me I’m not alone. Ever.
Message received. And what I could give was simply, “Thanks be to God”. Thanks for whatever wisdom it was that led me to be in that place to receive what felt like a blessing.
On this, All Saints Day, it is important to remember that we are all saints, even in our brokenness and strife. And everyone has the right to be protected from insidious insane discrimination perpetuated by those who cherry-pick Bible passages for use against other people. If we act out of love, we are doing God’s will.