Sunday, October 01, 2006

Welcome At Love's Table

I worshipped this morning at the church of a seminary friend. She is trying to plant a Metropolitan Community Church here, and it is still a small group, generally. But today was "Bring A Friend" Sunday, and so the ranks were swollen-- I think there were about 40 of us in the basement of a local United Methodist Church. My friend, Miller, is a gifted, truly beautiful preacher, and I love to sit and listen to her on Sundays when I am not preaching elsewhere.

I love worshipping at this little MCC. I don't know much about it, but I believe the MCC is a denomination that was founded as the gay rights movement began to take hold in this country. When the arcane policies of my own denomination get me down, I am encouraged by the fact that the MCC practices an open table every Sunday, not just World Communion Sunday. The MCC is all about communion. All Christians are supposed to own up to their fragility, their brokenness. But this group really gets it. The people who worship there are used to being marginalized, for being gay, lesbian, transgender, bi; that, or they are living with the pain of loved ones who are so excluded. These folks know who Jesus is talking about when he refers to "the least of these." There is something powerful about bowing my head and closing my eyes during the prayers there, as each person lifts up a name or two, or a situation or two. The prayer is intense. Everyone in that room is so, so happy to be in a place where they don't have to apologize for who they are. They are so happy to belong. I am so happy to belong.

During the summer Miller asked me if I would preach there, and it was one of those thousands of Sundays about the loaves and the fishes and Jesus the Bread of Life. Along with my sermon I sang this painful/beautiful Julie Miller song, "By Way of Sorrow." I thought of it again today, as I worshipped in the midst of all that love and all that brokenness.

You've been taken by the wind
You have known the kiss of sorrow
Doors that would not take you in
Outcast and a stranger

You have come by way of sorrow
You have come by way of tears
But you'll reach your destiny
Meant to find you all these years
Meant to find you all these years

You have drunk a bitter wine
With none to be your comfort
You who once were left behind
Will be welcome at love's table

You have come by way of sorrow
You have taken the long way home
Who could offer words to you?
You will one day come to know
You will one day come to know

All the nights that joy has slept
Will awake to days of laughter
Gone the tears that you have wept
You'll dance in freedom ever after

You have come by way of sorrow
You've come over a stony ground
But when love calls out your name
You will lay your burden down
You will lay your burden down

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