My Lover’s Quarrel With the Church

 Some readers may not see this as a poem.
I don’t care.  I only know it rises as a cry—
Both of sorrow and of joy, directly from the heart,
Through the mind and out my hand, onto page
About my lover’s quarrel with the Church.
 
Recently, it was my honor to preside
At the first same-sex wedding in a Christian Church
In my little town of Ridgefield— where it is legal,
But where such weddings have before been held
Only in the synagogue or a private home or outside,
Under blue skies and blessings of God.
 
The Episcopal priest was only permitted by his bishop
To bless the union, but not officiate at saying of the vows,
A thin line he could not cross, though we crossed ourselves
And said prayers over the marriage of Ann-Tricia and Celina,
Two radiant brides whose love and joy
Overflowed and blessed the hearts of everyone present.
 
Ted spoke during his homily of being in Durham Cathedral,
Where Saint Cuthbert is buried, safe from the raids of Vikings.
A thick black marble line runs the length at the back and
Most of the way down side aisles, to mark the place
Where women were not welcome, for they were not worthy
To enter further into such holy place as this.
 
‘Today, we honor the love and the courage of these two women
As they step over the line….
Witness before us in the saying of their vows
That love is real and eternal and holy.”  Tears ran down our cheeks—
Tears of joy on this historic occasion, whose time had finally come!
Thank God, Almighty.  We have overcome at last
Yet another barrier of hatred and prejudice….
In welcoming them, we welcome Everyone!
 
In every age, the black line is drawn to exclude—
Women, Jews, blacks, gays and lesbians, the outcast of
Whatever tribe is chosen next to receive our shadowed hate.
And it seems the Church is always there to bless the line,
To reinforce the teaching of whatever hate arises within the heart,
Justifies over and over the ugly shadow, the pogroms, the wars
That keep us separate and block our hearts from love.
 
This is my lasting Lover’s Quarrel with the Church—
That in every age we use the Good Book to find a rule
That favors one against the other, causes shame and hurt,
Anger and hate to thrive within our hearts.  She does not stand and
Shout “Enough!”  God blessed this world and called it good and
Every human face, every single one, carries
That holy image in his or her eyes….
When, O God, will we finally learn?
When will we open our eyes and see the Light?
 
 

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