Danusha Lameris’s poem, Feeding the Worms, reads,
Ever since I found out that earth worms have taste buds
all over the delicate pink strings of their bodies,
I pause dropping apple peels into the compost bin, imagine
the dark, writhing ecstasy, the sweetness of apples
permeating their pores. I offer beets and parsley,
avocado, and melon, the feathery tops of carrots.
I’d always thought theirs a menial life, eyeless and hidden,
almost vulgar—though now, it seems, they bear a pleasure
so sublime, so decadent, I want to contribute however I can,
forgetting, a moment, my place on the menu.
Over the last few weeks, I have witnessed churches of all denominations seemingly trip over themselves to show their support for the LGBTQ community. These so called ‘Pride Masses’ or ‘Pride Services’ have ranged from a simple inclusion in corporate prayers, colorful rainbow vestments, to a mass celebrated on an actual bar within a gay nightclub, to an entire service of much flamboyance, to downright heresy as creeds are manipulated and Eucharist Canons are altered. Now, I get the intent. I really do! I fully understand the goal, but I find it a bit hypocritical. After all, the church, as a whole, has been one of the largest abusers of human rights, and in many ways, still is.
I remember when we had a guest organist when we were still much smaller back in Blue Bell. The musician approached me and asked quietly, almost as if anyone heard him, they would be insulted, “Are you a gay church?” I turned on my heels and said matter-of-factly, “Sir, we are not a gay church, or a straight church, a black church or white church; we are a church.” And I walked away.
I still feel this way. We never set out to be anything other than a church that welcomes everyone. We have always done so, always embraced every single soul who wished to attend and worship with us, protected the most vulnerable, and served the forgotten and marginalized. Always have; always will. No fanfare. Just work.
I guess when I thought about pastoring a church way back while in seminary, I knew the worm was already ahead of me, so who, then, could I ever reject?