Blood, Sweat and Tears

The rainbow stoles you see us wearing in the photographs of witness actions are not only symbolic. Wearing that stole around my neck has reminded me of the often repeated children’s time that my dad used to do: the stole that clergy wear is evolved from a towel draped around the neck, used in baptism. A towel, used to dry water from the new-baptized.

Here is Bishop Tuell in his rainbow stole today:

For me these two weeks, my stole has absorbed blood, sweat and tears. The blood is (mostly) symbolic: my sisters and brothers in Christ have been harmed by the policies, both old and new, of the United Methodist Church we love. Debriefing after the votes, people talk about “hemorrhaging” hurt.

Sweat, from every time we step outside into the humid Tampa air. Sweat from dancing in the flashmob. Sweat from stress surrounding all the actions and witnesses we are doing here.

But most of all, tears. Today, as we surrounded the communion table, I was a stoic at first. I was committed to witnessing faithfully, singing the songs, participating. But I ended up next to my sister in Christ,  who was weeping. I stood with her, hugging her as we witnessed on the floor of the General Conference. And my tears began to seep out. But it was not until I looked up that I started to cry again in earnest. I looked up and saw Amory, so full of grace, so full of the love of God for neighbor.

I weep for voices silenced, for love dismissed, for gifts denied. I weep for a church which can barely admit to God’s Grace being available to all, and which appreciates the gifts of its gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members and clergy, but will not admit them into full participation in the ministry of the church.

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