God does move in the most mysterious and profound ways.
Today, my partner and I are celebrating twenty-one years of togetherness in all its beauty and bumps in the road along the way. It is amazing to both of us that so much time has passed. I found it particularly interesting that this morning's daily office had as a reading the words that Hannah offers to God in 1 Samuel upon having her prayer for a son answered. The text of her prayer, which would no doubt informed the Virgin Mary's Magnificat, starts:
“My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. “There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength." -- 1 Sam. 2:1b-4There are many of my friends who see my relationship with my partner as reason to put our portrait on the poster for why we should legalize same-sex marriage. I suppose we could be used that way, but as I woke up this morning and thought about this day, I was thinking more about the way that God continues to do God's will no matter what the civil and church authorities think ought to be "the way things are." We do not have the blessing of the Episcopal Church, or any other religious institution, although my own rector conveyed his congratulations to us. We were turned down in our symbolic protest of the state's marriage law as not being eligible to apply for a marriage license. But none of that matters in the eyes of God. I believe that God blesses and rejoices in our relationship.
As for the continuing struggles that we face in light of the lack of legal recognition, I found today's gospel from the noon day Eucharist particularly helpful:
"Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." --John 16:20-23
Every struggle or attempt to move society forward has been met by resistance. In the days of Jesus, it was entrenched power bases and an oppressive Roman authority that would step on the neck of anyone getting out-of-line. Women have faced these struggles (and still do) for equality, especially their fight for the right to vote. Blacks have faced these struggles (and still do) to be treated as fully-human. The same for immigrants. And the same for the LGBT community. But every group that has faced the obstacles of oppression have also seen steps forward and barricades knocked down. I believe this is because injustice can not last forever when God demands justice and mercy for all. As I work to release myself into this river of God and trust in its movement, I want to carry these words of Christ. His promise was that he would be with us always to the end of the age. I believe him.
And because I believe, I know that one day my 21 years of "co-habitation" will receive the proper recognition. It already has.