a priest's musings on the journey

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sermonette: Some thoughts on Revelation 19:1-9: The Lamb's Victory

I've been in one of those funky places again lately, as the second anniversary of my be forced departure from parish ministry approaches. To be honest, it's more than just a funk; it's lethargy. I am tired. I am tired of being in a Church that oppresses the very people God has called us to liberate. I am tired of being the political agenda of the month. I am tired of always having to prove myself as a priest because of my sexual orientation. I am tired of the games I have to play to find a place to be in the Church. One day I feel like it is safe to be out; the next I am running back into the corner and hiding because I know I'll never be called to be the pastor of a parish in the South if I am openly gay. I cower in the darkness chained by to my fears and to the insitutional homophobia of the Episcopal Church. Even as I write these words, I am concerned that some search committee (particularly the three I am involved with at the moment) will stumble across this blog and delete my name from the candidate's list (again). Yet, I sit here knowing that this is not a life that I can live. The Church can not make me less than human, and it can not make me a second class member of the Church. Christ has set me free; Christ has made me a member of His Body, just like everybody else. Moreover, Christ has defeated the powers of sin, death, Hell, and oppression. Todays Epistle reading for the Holy Eucharist says it this way:

19After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, 2for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3Once more they said, “Hallelujah! The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.” 4And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”
5And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.” 6Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; 8to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
Revelation 19:1-9

The Holy Eucharist is a foretaste of the Feast of Christ's Victory that we will enjoy with God in Heaven. It is a reminder that this Resurrected Christ has overcome the great whore who seeks to destroy the children of God. It is a reminder that the great whore can not keep me away from God. And one day, God will bring justice to the poor and the oppressed. Our Holy Eucharist is our banquet of liberation, and all of us are invited to this supper!

At the end of the day, the Church might keep pushing me and my gay brothers and sisters to the sidelines; it might keep putting up obstacles for us to overcome before we find a place to minister as equal servants of our Lord in the Church. But, the Institutional Church can not separate us from the love of God; it can not take away our baptismal union with Christ nor God's claim on us as God's beloved children. We belong to God. We are members of the Body of Christ too. As long as the "church" tried to amputate us, it will not be able to function and live as Christ intended. Without all of us working together, the Body of Christ risks becoming unhealthy and unproductive. So, all I can do is continue to work for Jesus, as my Pentecostal preachin' Grandfather would have put it. If not in a parish, then I'll have to find another venue in which to live out my vocation as a priest. There's so much work to do- I can not continue to allow the sins of the church to keep my focus off of Christ and God's dream for my life. It's time to start living into that dream again.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:03 PM


You are in my prayers. I hate any kind of injustice and I admire your honesty and bravery.
Blogger John the organist, at 5:03 AM  
Thank you John. I don't know how brave I am though.
Blogger PadreRob+, at 1:30 PM  
You are brave enough to live the truth, or live into it day by day. That's much more than others who hide or dissemble. (Did I spell that last word right?)

Prayers on your journey and especially in your search for a position that will match your vocation!
Blogger Jane R, at 4:18 PM  
Thanks for the encouragement, Jane, and for allowing me whine now and again. ;)
Blogger PadreRob+, at 4:37 PM  
What are friends for? :-)
Blogger Jane R, at 4:44 PM  
Thank you for sharing your heart's joy and pains. Yes, the journey is intimately ours in the flesh, but the vehicle is not; that is one (interpersonal relationship) we must share as best we can as community. And thank you for respecting the Orthodox tradition. For us, our challenges with the Orthodox Church are traumatizing; yet the One Triune always wins for the sake of God's people. In Christ, whether Episcopal or Orthodox, we're quite similar in heart; it seems humanity prefers segmentation and dissolution. But the Holy Spirit is always up for new challenges, even when they come from our own siblings. It's a pleasure to have discovered your blog. What a rich and edifying labor of love you've created. May God continue to bless you and your family. Please visit us. Our traditions have much in common, and even more in store. +
Blogger Syntheosis™, at 8:48 PM  

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