Come on home
You don’t have to be alone.
—Summer’s End by John Prine
* * *
My gay friend loves Easter. And no, it’s not because of the jaunty bunny or rainbow-colored eggs.
My friend loves Easter because when he was as good as dead, Easter gave him his life back. He doesn’t care whether the resurrection is fact or fiction, logos or mythos. Easter saved him.
I grew up in church, he told me. I heard the Holy Week stories every year. Palm Sunday. Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Easter Sunday.
As a child I loved skipping into the church waving palm branches. I loved washing feet at the Maundy Thursday faux Seder and saying as Jesus said to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
I loved the seven last words from the cross on Good Friday. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” sent chills down my spine. I loved the sanctuary shrouded in black for Black Saturday.
But most of all, I loved the sight of the gloriously transformed sanctuary on Easter Sunday, bedecked with lilies, tulips, and banners aflutter with butterflies proclaiming: HE IS RISEN.
I loved church. Church felt like home.
And then I discovered I was gay.
I told no one. I had heard enough growing up in the church to know people like me were unwelcome. We were judged. Condemned.
I didn’t feel safe anymore. I didn’t feel at home. Jesus had left the church.
But I kept going. It was in my blood. It was a family thing. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up and just walk away.
And then it happened.
Once again it was Holy Week. Jesus was unjustly condemned, crucified, and buried in a tomb. A stone was rolled over its mouth.
I’d heard that story a million times. But on this particular day I was hearing it as my story. The world had condemned, crucified, and buried me, but God would not let hatred win.
God rolled away the stone and said to his son: Come out.
On that particular Easter Sunday I heard that voice say to me: The stone is rolled away. Come out.
And I did.
And guess what: Much to my surprise I was welcomed by a whole new family.
Come on home, brother. You don’t have to be alone. Ever again.
(And that’s the resurrection I believe in.)
* * *
You just never know what memories are lying inside, waiting to be stirred… magical Easter mornings at home, as a child – all gussied up, new clothes, new shoes, new hat – off to church. Later, cousins come to celebrate, eat & play… my gay brother playing trumpet in church one thrilling Easter Sunday
( he didn’t yet know – he was only 12…).
“Good Friday “ I wept…& much later I saw the larger than life painting of the crucifixion in DC… wept again…
Coming home, welcomed home; always a home where you belong… no matter what – That’s what my mother & father always made for my gay brother, and for all of us…a treasure beyond measure…and what Al & I have here… in Shepherdstown – home “ you don’t have to be alone…come on home”…thank you…🙏🏼💓🌻
Coming out of our private prisons of oppression is liberation. There are many names for it. Some might call it resurrection.
Seems to me the opening and listening to the lovely voices that must visit as you sit in quiet or putter about your day that are the seeds of the gems of these posts in the past weeks are an Easter as well. I am so grateful for the making and creating and soul making that seem one of God’s greatest gifts to we humans. Through them we re-remember our hearts, our souls. We learn to witness, gather our memories, and see with both our old and sometimes surprised new eyes. So grateful for your words. Thank you.
I cannot tell you what this meant to me. About a month ago my 45 year old son revealed he is transgender and this Easter/spring has had a whole new meaning for me. Thanks for Your sharing.
Thank you!! What a beautiful story!! Too often religion and it’s rules get in the way of the voice of the Most Holy.
Love is love. Life is more than less an individual journey, with choices of our interactions and interpreting narratives, be they logos or mythos. Stay on the love/sunny side of life!
Gathering without judgement… that’s a tough one. I have witnessed a large movement toward the positive in my lifetime as we all engage again and again. This moment in time, I think, is pivotal on a broad front between isolationists and emergents. Isolation being a fantasy state, I respectfully choose emergence and diversity. A term I have recently learned describes my goal: biophilia, love of all nature. Heh- something close to Buddhism, yes?