From Ashes to Glitter

glitterheartA handful of Music City Sisters and Sister Mary-Go-Round hit the bars last night, offering glitter blessings in observance of (Sm)Ash Wednesday.

“It’s Ash Wednesday! May we offer you a blessing?”
“Um I dunno…what do I have to do?”
“Well, first you have to decide if you want it with glitter, or oral only…”
…We’d banter back and forth, laughing together until eventually we offered these words as blessing:

You are a person of joy.

Be yourself without guilt.

Protect yourself and those you love.

More often than not, the smiles transformed into looks of solemn wonder. I heard things like, “Thank you, Sister.” “That was wonderful.” “Wow.”

Near the end of the night, and after having consumed a few drinks, I was winding up a blessing when, on that last line, this slipped out: “…and proclaim….” I stopped short of saying what I was about to say, which was, “…and proclaim the gospel.” I smiled, laughed and recovered to finish the blessing.
As I walked away, I started tearing up. You see, I was a pastor for ten years in a denomination that, while struggling with the issue, describes homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.” I was quietly forced to leave that vocation after finally coming to terms with my own sexuality.
The tears came when I realized the slip–up wasn’t really a slip-up at all. As a Sister, I am still in ministry. I am still proclaiming the gospel of love. Only now I get to do it with a cocktail in my hand while looking fabulous.
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