Friday, May 8, 2009

It's Coming... Now you people have to help me write my sermon.

Just a few days now.

I veer between serenity, even transcendence, and flipping-out-of-my-mind scared. I know I have mentioned before that I am in a 12-step program around my eating issues. I have a new and fantastic sponsor to whom I pour out my fear each and every morning at 6 AM. I don't know how she stands it. I can barely stand it. But today she suggested a few things.

Prayer: it never ceases to amaze me how much I've been taught about prayer by recovering addicts, how much they have put the lie to my supposed "prayer life." Don't get me wrong: it's better now than it ever has been. But... it is still not my default action for the Big Things.

Writing: Check.

Phone Calls: Hard. Hard to call people and say, I need help, like, now. But I am committed today to calling before I take the bite. My sponsor said, "Assemble your A-team, and then use them." Is this a minister thing? This desire not to appear needy (even to other addicts who totally get it)?

Making a commitment to myself. Yes. The 'day that is coming' (such biblical portents in that phrase) has so absorbed and pre-occupied me that I have been allowing it to be my excuse. But as my sponsor said today, "There will always be reasons to eat." So, so true. It would be so good to get through this with a clear head and a clear heart.

I have recently had the opportunity to speak to two other pastors in my denomination who have come out to their congregations. One had done it in three different calls, and in two of the three, continued to have a good length pastorate. The other did it after a pastorate of good length, and has stayed there with the full support of the governing board.

Each person had different ideas of how best to do it, though they were quick/careful to say "every situation is unique, my way need not necessarily be your way."

I have come to the conclusion that I'm in the best position to judge how my governing board and congregation will best hear this information (it's not really "news"). I've decided I need to trust myself and do it in the way that seems right to me.

Now... what to preach the following Sunday (Easter 6)? Any thoughts? I have ruled out certain kinds of sermons. This is not, for example, the Sunday for the full-on exegetical defense of gayness. Not going there. This is, it seems to me, the day to emphasize some or all of the following points:

  • We are in community together, the body of Christ.

Well, gosh, I got kind of stuck there. The next thing I was inclined to say was, and that means you are stuck with people you otherwise wouldn't be caught dead with! (Or, 'that brings us into relationship with all kinds of people, and sometimes that makes us uncomfortable'). But that seems to lead down a rabbit hole in which I am, essentially, saying "I'm sorry for being who I am."

Which I will not say, under any circumstances.

OK, how 'bout this:

  • God loves us.
  • God calls us to love others in word and deed.
  • I believe you and I have been called, together, to do this work.
  • How 'bout it?

In other news... Madpriest said something really nice about me. Something that made me all teary. He's a good 'un. As I recall, it was he who discovered this blog, way back when it was "from a dark place," and sent his vast and fabulous readership on over for a look-see. So, thank you, Mad One. Your stance with those of us on the margins is deeply appreciated.

22 comments:

God_Guurrlll said...

Abide in me has been bouncing around in my head for quite a while in thinking of this sermon. Abiding in each other means loving each other no matter what and stepping out of our boxes to see things from another's perspective.

I am so amazed by your courage. God bless you and know you have a cheering section out here in the internet!

Peace and love,

Choralgirl said...

FULL of love and hope for you. :-)

Anything you need, I'm here.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I'm glad to see that you are not going to apologize for being who you are!!!

I just checked the scriptures for Easter 6 in the RCL. How funny! We are using Psalm 98 and John 15 for our wedding scriptures!!!

I continue to pray for you---and will now add that the Holy Spirit will guide your words and the hearts of your listeners on that day.

Love,
Doxy

Sophia said...

Your sermon sounds spot on to me! So proud of you, excited for you, praying for you. You absolutely rock.

anne said...

John 15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete....

Cecelia-I have been "lurking" on your site for a while-have been blessed by your posts- honest, reflective, vulnerable. I also hear your excitement and joy in knowing and loving who you are, and the journey you are on.

When you speak, I trust that the Holy Sprit will not only anoint you but the ears of your listeners. Let it be so!

That Sunday I will be at a retreat weekend for GLBT folk- we will keep you in our heart and our prayers.

Blessings

LittleMary said...

madpriest cracks me up. good stuff. and i just cant imagine all the stuff churning in your stomach right now--or maybe i can. i am so proud of you and couldn't be more honored to have someone as famous as you be my friend.

Songbird said...

Keep working your way around and through the scriptures and they will speak for you as you are speaking for them. I trust this will be true.

Chris said...

Just a thought that I've been having recently as my denomination gears up for a major fight over sexuality in general, and anticipating people who wish to look at scripture (being the four or five verses that directly say something on homosexuality - in some form) and trying to ignore what is happening in the real world.

I've started thinking about these arguments in terms of the incarnation, that Christ became flesh and lived the human experience. So as much as some people may not understand where you're coming from, looking back at scripture, you can always speak of the real human experience of the Word made flesh, for all people.

susankay said...

Cecilia -- another lurker who has been blessed by your journey. I would love to be there to hear your sermon.

My priest (TEC), who has struggled with the implications of being a whole BODY with all that implies, has been finding that the idea of incarnation is ABOUT WHOLE BODY AND SOUL -- and all that that implies. Perhaps you can stick that in -- he does all the time and I love it.

Sara said...

Cecilia,
Don't flatter MP too much, it makes him difficult! I wish the whole OCICBW crew could be there with you for support, but, you'll have to settle for all the prayers, good thoughts and everything else we send your way.

I would think that the important thing to do the next Sunday is continue to be who you are, you haven't changed, they just know a little more about you.

I'm thankful for you and hope that someday someone like you can show my daughter that God loves her as He made her.

Lots of love and prayers.

Suzer said...

Thinking of you, praying for you and your Beloved, and your family. Wishing we could be there in person to support you, but will certainly be there in spirit.

Mary Sue said...

Is this a minister thing? This desire not to appear needy (even to other addicts who totally get it)?It's an American thing, I like to call it the Bootstrap Theorem-- as in "I can do anything myself as long as I just pull myself up by my bootstraps." Which is bullpucky, who has bootstraps any more? Sheesh. Stupid cliche.

Repeat after me: Asking for help does not make me weak.

Cecilia said...

Asking for help does not make me weak.

KJ said...

I'm with Sara. We must flatter the Mad One from time-to-time, just enough to keep him happy. But if it becomes excessive, he becomes difficult.

Now, to the topic at hand.

First, breathe! Breathe!

Your outline sounds excellent. If in fact there are no coincidences, then why are you and your congregation brought together at this time? Further, as Chris has commented, when we are transparent, being who we are, God can use us in ways that he/she cannot when we're pretending to be other people.

So, here' s a prayer that your congregation is ready to be "real." (Stolen, with no regret, from The Velveteen Rabbit.).

Mary Beth said...

Praying, cheering, lifting you up.

Erika Baker said...

I don't know how you pray, but could you examine the different possibilities for your sermon in prayer to see how they "feel" when you bring them before God?

If you give yourself and him enough time you might be able to break through the overlying emotions and get to the core, suddenly knowing what is the right way for you and for those who hear you.

Judith said...

Instead of (or in addition to) "God loves us," don't forget to say, "God loves us as we are/as he made us." You are part of the FANTASTIC array of people whom God has made.

God bless you, and you will be in my prayers!!!

Bryan said...

Wow incredibly inspiring!! Glad to be a new reader, and if I may offer my blog for you to read as well and share with others...it's inspirational and spiritually based and all about personal growth. Of course, you know all you need to do is click on my name...I'm excited, looking to make new friends and get new readers, and just hope to do well overall.

Take care and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Just a lurker....

I've come a long way in my understanding of GLBT issues... helped mostly by getting to know friends, and also by honest people like you, willing to share your experiences and teach me.

At the end of the day, I have come to believe that we are all created for and called to love.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jane R said...

E-mail me if you need to talk and I'll send you my phone number.

Erika Baker said...

Celia
I just read your coming out schedule over at MP's. Prayers throughout the whole week.

IT said...

It is hard to realize how heavy the burden of being hidden has weighed, until you finally release it. Sending you STRONGEST of thoughts as you step through that door with confidence and grace, dear C. Into the light indeed.

(I also came here from MP';s, long ago).

Now blogging at: Gay Married Californian.