Sunday, June 27, 2010
Tale of Two Cities
There were two extremes today: a southern Baptist worship service in Harlem and a gay pride parade in the Village. I’m taking the approach of just exploding my thoughts, with no real conclusions.
The church service had a piece of freedom I often miss at my typical church services back home. There is a scale of expression during worship, from the still pew sitter ending with the arm raiser foot stomper “Alleluia” chanter. Here, in Harlem, wherever you landed on the scale didn’t matter-reminding me of our audience of one.
Following the service we met two elders who shared the history of Bethel Gospel Assembly. Two black children accepted Christ at a tent revival in the early 1900s. Sadly, for the time, they were not allowed to attend the church that held the revival because of their race. A woman of that church told them she’d come up to Harlem each week and give them Bible Study if they bring their friends. A gathering of believers began shortly after-amongst them the first pastor of the, now, Bethel Gospel Assembly.
We rode the #2 home and enjoyed some pancakes and omelets at the local diner. Walking home, we noticed a large number of rainbow flags all traveling to 5th Ave, we’d heard that it was Gay Pride week. A parade was taking place in the heart of the Village.
I wish I could adequately describe the feeling I had when I walked nearer the parade. A weight in the low part of my abdomen pulled my feet to a stop. Cheers from herd of motorcyclists joined those of the spectators around me. The New York City Council banner slowly walked by with shouts of “C’mon New York show your pride!” An eruption of noise responded. Instantly I pictured Moses, coming down the mountain to see the Israelites draping their bodies over the golden calf.
I want to weep.
I want to see healing in the sexual brokenness.
I want more honesty in the church.
I want to stop reading about Catholic priests.
I want to have parades that honor God.
I want to talk about it.