For parish clergy, Holy Week is full employment time. Here at All Saints Church in Pasadena we have 24 services between 7:30 a.m. Palm Sunday and 1:00 p.m. Easter Day -- and even with a boatload of brilliant colleagues it is a week-long plate very full of liturgy, pastoral care and preaching. It is pedal to the church metal time and there is no time to waste.
So of course, faced with the looming writing deadline for my Good Friday sermon, I was on Facebook -- scrolling through pictures of kittens and puppies, updates from clergy friends about how busy they were and past dozens of "must-see" videos.
But since I didn't have time to watch a video, I kept scrolling past the one entitled "You light up her life: Debby Boone on LGBT acceptance." It had a great picture of Debby Boone (who is married to my good friend and Los Angeles clergy colleague Gabri Ferrer) and lots of comments like "must see" and "brava." But I didn't have time to watch a video -- even one that was only a minute sixteen seconds long. I had a sermon to write and it wasn't going write itself!
And then I watched it anyway. I'm not sure what finally convinced me to click on it but I did. And what I heard was a red carpet interview with Debby Boone about why she was there in support of the GLAAD Awards and her own journey toward embracing the full inclusion of LGBT people.
"I'm really happy to be here in support of GLAAD, because I am one of the people who has made the transition from an old way of thinking to a new one. And I think that's really the crux of what GLAAD is all about." When asked what had happened to change her mind, she answered: "I have really good friends and family members that have changed my mind. And the couple that we're with tonight is a lesbian couple who attended the church where my husband was associate rector."
And then she said this: "It's not about good and bad people. It's about continuing to tell the truth and the truth will do the work."
And all of a sudden the sermon that wasn't going to write itself started to write itself in my head. All of a sudden all of the reading I'd done and the notes I'd jotted down and the various bits and pieces fell into place around the "Gospel According to Debby Boone" -- the powerful truth that it really IS about continuing to tell the truth - and about trusting that the truth will do the work.
So on Good Friday I'll be preaching about continuing to tell the truth of the God who loves us beyond our wildest imaginings -- who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love one another -- and whose love was stronger even than death.
And then, in the weeks and days and months ahead, I'll remember that telling the truth and trusting the truth to do the work liberates the truth teller from the outcome -- that the truth does indeed set us free.
I'll give thanks for Debby Boone every time I tell the truth about the lives and loves and vocations of the LGBT people I'm blessed to live and work and minister with. I'll trust the truth of those stories to do the work of changing hearts and minds and of continuing to bend that arc of history toward justice. And I'll be ever grateful for the whim or the nudge or the "whatever" that made me click on her one minute, sixteen second video when I had absolutely no business taking time to watch videos on Facebook during Holy Week -- but thank goodness I did!
Follow Rev. Susan Russell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/revsusanrussell