Scripture in a Gay Bar and Advent
I was recently asked to do the honour of conducting a memorial service for a friend of mine in the bar he and his companion owned for many years. I also had the blessing of receiving the latest edition of “The Missioner” from Nashotah House which contained a wondrous insight into Advent and my friend’s Memorial being so close to this liturgical time I could not but help to see the marvelous interweaving of Time, Space, and Event given to me. The following is a reflection.
A person who has a very limited vision of life in all its facets and sometimes hidden places that lay like flowering glimmers asked me “why would you read Scriptures in a bar especially a gay bar?” Simple I said because God is found there as God is found on the street, in the “quiet places where the ragged people go” as Simon and Garfunkel would put it, in art galleries and coffee shops, in homes, in laboratories, in pain and suffering, in grief unrelenting, in joy in any place where human beings and yes our animal companions meet, but especially in our love for one another particularly in the love of a beloved one. So as the readings used in the Occasional Offices teach us it is like a pearl in a great ocean that sparkles with God, and of God, and through God and it cannot be destroyed. Not even death can really separate us.
As Anglican American Bishop Daniel Martins of the Episcoapl Church so beautifully expresses it in his meditation in “The Missioner” from Nashotah House, Advent is where we meet God. Like the wonderful metaphor he uses of painting a house, we all have scrapping, sanding, and masking to do in order that we can be prepared to to sit and sup with the Incarnate God.
You see more often than not God in his Christ is found in the terrible ordinariness of life where we generally least expect to find Him, yet it is in the day to day “hopes and fears of all the years” that Jesus, in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “walks in Jerusalem just like John”! He walks in our “Jerusalem” and if our eyes are open we can and do see him, if our hearts are open we have Supper with Him, and if our minds are open we have conversation with Him.
God is here and now as well as then and to come. He is Alpha and Omega. Let us rejoice and make preparation, let us say as the old saint who marched for her and all folkes civil rights once said “my feets are tired but my soul is refreshed”!
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