Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sing My Tongue

My brain is a jukebox.  

Unbeknownst to people who encounter me on the street or in conversation, there is often a soundtrack playing very low in the background inside my head.  It's like I have "theme music" playing.  As I've noted before on this blog, this abundance of music in my mind was a gift from God when my father died.   And it is the gift that keeps on giving to this day forward.

One of the tunes that has been ever-present lately caught  me by surprise.  It's a hymn that we often sing on Maundy Thursday in the Episcopal Church, the night when we commemorate the Last Supper and strip the altar of all its finery. 

"Sing my tongue of glorious battle" is a plainsong chant.  The organ usually accompanies us until the end when, many times, the congregation and the choir sing it acappella as we stare at the nakedness of our altar.  It can be chilling and powerful.

It's curious that a tune associated with Holy Week should be so forward in my mind in the middle of what we call "Ordinary Time."  But events in this Ordinary Time have been reminding me that our Easter for this world, sometimes, feels like a distant destination and that we are perpetually caught in a loop of repeating Good Friday.  I've been keeping close watch on the situation involving the 19 year-old unceremoniously turfed out of his family home for being gay.  People in the boy's hometown have attempted to reach out to the parents and grandmother and get them to see the errors of their way.  Instead, they ignore the help, sometimes out right reject it, and continue to breathe threats against their son, all with a Bible in their hands.  

"He endures the nails, the spitting, vinegar, and spear, and reed; from that holy body broken blood and water forth proceed; earth and stars and sky and ocean, by this flood from stain are freed."

I've been saddened by this situation, and the thought that parents could be so cruel as to completely cut off a child and deny him an opportunity to see his siblings or even the family dog.  Somehow, in their worldview, treating their son and grandson this way will lead him to "change."  Still, in 2014, there is a belief out there that people "choose" their sexual orientations.  Unreal.

The good news for this young man is that, where his parents and his grandmother have failed him, others have stepped in to help.  A call to find a temporary home for him in Tallahassee has landed him a bedroom and his own bathroom at the home of a PFLAG family.  Where he's staying is being kept under wraps since the boy's father is threatening to take away the truck.  And in Tallahassee, if you don't have your own means of transportation, you are going to be at the mercy of a half-assed bus service that doesn't even take you to all parts of town.  Some folks have given job leads.  And those who know and love him from his home town are still offering him help with a little bit of cash here and there.  Good Samaritans can still be found when the ones who claim the mantle of Christ do little to exhibit the model of their Savior.  With any luck, this young man will land a job, and be able to get on his feet, get established in Tallahassee, and move forward with his life.  And there will be Easter out of this Good Friday. Perhaps we will arrive at the moment when Christ is allowed to be resurrected instead of constantly crucifying Him with a Bible in hand.

I've told those who are attempting to reach the family and talk sense into them to leave it alone for now. They've done all they can, and the best thing any one of us can do is to pray that they come to their senses. 

I look forward to hearing Easter hymns in my head. 

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