|Good Friday...all the liturgical decorations down and gone, even to the Presence candle which is only extinguished once a year, to symbolically represent the death of Christ and the withdrawal of God's presence from Him.|
I am an odd ball mix of Pagan and Christian, which comes out on this blog as posts about the wheel of the year and being a pagan Priest, and attending my church and celebrating the liturgical calendar. But I thought I'd tell a bit about that church I attend. I live in the deep Fundamentalist Bible Belt South, at what may qualify as the Buckle. I keep a careful low profile about MANY things (its not a safe place to be...oh...GLBT, or Pagan, or even some variant of Christian that is - omigosh - LIBERAL, because at best you're going to Hell, and at worst you could get your head bashed in. Literally.)
So this a geographical community that...
through their religious identity routinely marginalizes women to the kitchens and does not even allow them to pray aloud in church,
believes that slavery was a positive thing because it brought "the negro" to the Gospel and saved them (I kid you not - I could barely type that without vomiting),
believes pagans to be Satan worshipers, PERIOD,
and condemns GLBT individuals to Hell at best; at worst we've had a gay bashing murder here not all that long ago.
And in the middle of this there is the incredible Episcopal church I attend.
Last night, I attended for Easter week services, the Maundy Thursday service.
I want to point out that the service was conducted in Spanish and English, scripture was read aloud by men and women, communion was served by both male and female priests, (I was on the side that had the wine and bread served to me by two women), multiple races were present, pagans and Christians were present, as well as gay, transgender and straight individuals and couples. All were accepted...totally. Not "tolerated", absolutely NOT condemned, accepted utterly with love and open arms as they were.
It was beautiful, affirming, powerful, safe and deeply spiritual. Change and hope for the future are possible, and already here, despite the growing pains of change and bigotry!
I love my church!
I just had to say this!