Thursday, July 27, 2006

Out Mass, A Celebration with Bishop Gene Robinson

My husband and I and Donald and friends attended the "Out Mass" at Christ Church Cathedral here in Montreal. Tonight's mass was a celebration of Diversity and togetherness. I should share with you some scripture, why? because it will tell the story of this mass very clearly.

Acts 3:1-10

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the beautiful gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said 'Look at us.' And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, 'I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.'

And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

When we exited the tunnel from the metro and walked into the courtyard of the Christ Church Cathedral I looked over to my right and saw this man sitting on a marble seating area, he had a purple shirt/collar on and I was going to walk past him, but I turned around and looked at him more intently. I saw the crosier chain hanging around his neck, the cross hidden in his left pocket, as bishops often do. I spoke to him first, "You are Fr. Gene Robinson, why yes I am," I introduced myself and my husband to him, he smiled genuinely and warmly. I inquired of his enjoyment of Montreal - he had many words for us. He likes Montreal. He was working on some notes, I assumed for his homily, so we let him be after a brief introduction. We walked around the church and met Donald, Judy and David, friends of mine from school.

The mass was incredible, the choir lifted me to a place that I had not felt in many years. The music was just absolutely heavenly. The homily was based on the scripture above from the book of Acts. Bishop Robinson said that we must take back our bible and our scriptures from the religious people of the right. This gay Bishop told us how we (LGBT) people are like that man who sat outside the temple at the beautiful gate - begging alms from those who would pray inside. Now "WE" (Congregations) of LGBT peoples are part of a church. We, for so long, were handicapped by our "infirmity." For so long (LGBT) people were not allowed to worship in the same churches as many of you do each week. What a nightmare...

Like that man who was laim and infirm, now healed by the power of the risen Christ, got up, not only did he get up, but he danced and jumped and praised God IN that temple that for so long he was too 'infirm' to enter because he was unclean and unacceptible to worship God the Father. This weekend Montreal will host the Gay Games. And thousands of (LGBT) people will gather in Montreal to compete in the first major games to come to Montreal since the 1976 Olympics. LGBT people running, jumping, leaping and cheering in a city that welcomes so many to herself.

What a nightmare...

We are called by God to be good and faithful, to Love our neighbor as God has loved us. And we should be compassionate to those who think less of us. Those God fearing people who think that just because we are (LGBT) people, we cannot pray and worship God in the temple. Well, today I can say, I have seen something that I will never forget. I met, heard and received communion from Bishop Gene Robinson, of the Episcopalian Communion. Episcopalian, Anglican, Catholic whatever the denomination, homosexuality and religion is at the top of everyones discussion list in many places around the world.

This issue of homosexuality, as he says, is not just about homosexuality, it is about how we are going to treat each other on the outside. Because now, we all come together in the house of the Lord, and we pray and we worship, and AT the Moment, when we recieve the Body and Blood of Jesus, are the same. No one is different at the table of Christ. This issue is not just about sexuality, it is about people, because problems like this have been issues way back into antiquity.

I mean, for Peter and Paul, all was not rosy. Who was acceptible to eat at the table, who was acceptible and not, and what were people doing? Peter and Paul had their hands full, didn't they. Jews, Gentiles, Circumcised and Uncircumcised. Did you think there were no serious discussions going on in biblical times? I didn't think so.

We have this issue of who is going to be acceptible in the church. We (LGBT) people are asking the religions to change the rules in the middle of the game, not an easy request to have done, is it? It's not all about being Gay or Being a Gay Bishop with a partner. It's about how the people of the 'communion' IN the 'communion' are going to treat each other. Our sexuality is not the end all be all of who we are, and I think in Bishop Gene Robinson's opinion, he isn't going anywhere. and We will all be long gone when this issue is finally rectified.

Like the laim man who was healed by the power of the risen Christ, for we are Post-Resurrection and Pre-Pentecost on the liturgical calendar. He was made to walk and he rose and walked into the temple, jumping and dancing and praising God. Well, so are we, LGBT people all over the world are coming to the 'communion' of Christ in whatever religion you want to put into the equation. Our sexuality is immaterial to who we are. Those who sin in the eyes of God, do harm to another be that man woman or child, will answer to almighty God, but surely not be judged by us, how arrogant to think that we have to power to exclude ANYONE from the 'communion' of Christ. The crux of the issue of Gay's in the church comes to a few points, the main point is, "How are we going to treat these people Out Here?"

This weekend we will hear read the Proclamation of World Wide Gay Rights on Saturday at the Opening of the 2006 Gay Games. When LGBT people and their friends and supoprters and fans will gather to run, jump, dance and celebrate our achievements in sport.

What a nightmare!!!
You just had to be there - to get it !!

Who knew we could do so much in a world this big, where in some countires and circles LGBT athletes have to hide in a closet for fear of persecution and damnation and secrets. This weekend we will show the world just what LGBT athletes can do and Montreal will show the world just how Accomodating and Hospitable "WE" as Montrealers and Canadians can be.

Jump farther, Run Faster, Live Loudly and Proudly, Anjoy your stay In Montreal and welcome. Here is the hyperlink to Bishops Robinson's Life and Election book. Donald bought me a copy for my birthday coming up on Monday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for writing this account, which I sort of stumbled upon this morning. I'm so happy to find your blog, and to know that you were at the service and that it meant so much to you. It was pretty extraordinary, wasn't it? And so full of joy. I'm going to send a link to this post to Bishop Robinson, who will be as happy as I was to read your sincere and genuine words. I hope you enjoy the book; perhaps we met on Thursday night? Please let me know what you think of it. Very best wishes to you. I will be thinking of you as you deal with your great aunt's illness. I just lost my mother so I know what it is like to be coping with loss - but I can also tell you that God helps the grieving. May blessings and peace come to you and yours; pray for strength and I have no doubt that you will receive it.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Yes, thank you for writing this. Amen and amen.

4:57 PM  

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