|Last 20th. The TGDOR just gone
||[Nov. 22nd, 2008|04:24 pm]
Ok, this is a little bit as as, right now, I'm not sure how to write about this, or if I'll even get to posting this, but on the short of it, it was a lovely ceremony.
It was held in the Unitarian Church, and both times I've been in there, it's left me with a certainty of it being a very loving church. Talking to one of the reverands, he told me some of their history. Traditionally, in the US they're pretty much known as being the Gay and Lesbian church. Apparently a good while ago, the previous leader of the church didn't want a reputation as being just an LGB church, but to be one for everyone. It was apparently going down the LGB route until the divorce referendum, which legalised divorce. Very few other churches in the country will marry someone who's been previously divorced (I think the COI would do it, given its COE roots, but I don't know), so they got an influx of straight folk, but with a strong LGBT presence. As a result, it's apparently a very mixed, but inclusive congregation. I like that concept... it's not the LGBT ghetto church of Dublin, just a church.
One of the reasons I really liked it was the fact that the reverend leading the ceremony suggested some hymns. At first, I was reluctant, mainly as I wanted to gently articulate how some attendees might not be so comfortable with their voices, at least singing. Thinking about it now, it was probably my own little thing, but anywho, she chose one that was amazingly apt - We are a gentle, angry people. I thought it summed up the situation beautifully. There was another one, which I've been looking up online, and it's called "My life flows on (How can I keep myself from singing)" , but looking it up now, it seems that it was generalised a little by the church - I notice that the lyrics they use don't actually reference Jesus, or use a capital L for Lord. There again, that doesn't surprise me, given how many different symbols of different belief systems they have in that church (I think the underlying message is, if you want to worship, come right in, we won't ask you to do it Our Way (tm)).
The speeches and readings were powerful, and heartfelt; to the point that the other reverend changed his own reading from a passage in the book of psalms to one called Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. I think it goes without saying that I was particularly taken by the whole ceremony, and where it was held.
The day itself is one that I always have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it's the day when we have a voice; more to the point we, ourselves, make the space to use our voice, and take our stand. It's not a space that another group created where we march along and hope they use their voice for us (not that I don't appreciate that, not that I'm not appreciative of solidarity, but I do think that if any progress is to be made we also need an ability to do this on our own feet), it's ours. I'm happy that we have a voice, but less so about what we need to use that voice to say (29 reported killings in the last year). At the same time, there was something empowering about a ceremony where we remember our dead. We remember the people that some others may wish we forgot. We celebrate their lives while mourning their deaths. It is paying respect to our ancestors. It is galvanising those who mark this day to help make sure it doesn't happen again.
It is a space that I value more than a lot of others, because it isn't others granting us a space, but us making one; earning that space feels so much better than one that's just given to us.
What was especially empowering was that the people who were there got a very core message, this is not about you, it is not about our petty little squabblings and politics, it is a lay when we lay down our arms, and walk in together for one night in the year and remember our dead. I wish more people actually were big enough to do that because it was actually something good, despite who the organiser was seen to be (and if you hadn't known, you would have thought it was arranged more by the reverends, and that they did a good job).
One of the lasting messages I had when I left the ceremony came from a poem called The God Who Knows Only Four Words:
Has known God,
Not the God of don'ts,
Not the God who ever does
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
"Come dance with Me."