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  • Church

    My “Pro-Gay” Friend Made a Floral Arrangement for My Church

    April 10, 2015


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    See that gorgeous floral centerpiece on the platform of my church? My friend made it. My friend who attends gay pride parades and keeps peace vigils, who paints pictures of bare-breasted women and lights a yule log during the holidays. This florist-friend made a centerpiece for my church that would have cost a fortune at Hobby Lobby for an arrangement half its size. And she refused to take a penny for her work.

    I brought a vase to her house and watched her set aside her morning to pull out pieces and parts from her own supply of florals and push them, lovingly, stem by stem into the green foam, and pause to walk around it, looking and adding and moving and pushing until it was perfect. Church perfect.

    She littered her dining table and floor with Spanish moss and loose petals and leaves as she cut and clipped through hard wire, for hours it seemed. Finally she was done and then we had the money fight, which I always lose. So we sent her a card. A thank you card with money from the church, to thank the “pro-gay” florist for her generous service.

    We had the grand opening, our first Sunday service in the white church with red flowers, and she came. She sat and listened to my first sermon, words which felt as feeble as a baby on wobbly feet. And her face catching the light through the stained glass window is a memory as cherished as red silk roses arranged by loving hands.

    My friend’s florist service and church attendance on that special Sunday morning was a simple and profound statement–

    I love you. You’re my friend.

     

    To my knowledge, that’s all anyone read into it. No one suggested her acts of kindness and moral support meant she sympathized with or celebrated my Christian lifestyle.

    Maybe refusing to bake wedding cakes and pizza for gay couples means something that those with childlike faith have yet to understand. Maybe temporal freedoms really are worth protecting at the expense of souls. Maybe I’m missing something when I read the scriptures and don’t  come away with an urgency to maintain my rights more than anything else in this short life.

    Make no mistake–I am not naive about the devilish agenda in this evil world that causes all kinds of people to demand a tolerance they refuse to show in return. But that is an anti-Christ spirit, not flesh and blood.

    Neither do I  pretend there aren’t nuances and complexities surrounding how we flesh out this Christian life, especially when the tables are turned and it’s wedding cakes, not flowers we’re talking about. I could write pages describing possible scenarios, each with different potential consequences, and there would be a thousand different answers about how to live “in this world but not of it.” But maybe this is not so much about whether to bake or not to bake as much as how we love while we’re baking or not baking.

    The apostle Paul said we should each work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling.” A reverential awe of God that surpasses our fear of what lawmakers will do should prompt us toward a courageous love that is selflessly willing to be misunderstood or rejected by those on any side, no matter what course of action we choose to take.

    So if I am going to be pro-Christ,  I should follow the Jesus who washed the feet of his betrayer, and carried the tunic of his oppressor an extra mile. I should follow the Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world, whose citizenship is in Heaven, and whose government is upon his shoulders. And I should especially follow the Jesus who died for religious folks who completely missed the point. If He “loved them to death”, what point have I to prove?

    Still, if God’s name is Love, I think it must mean a radical and confounding love, which sometimes looks like red silk roses beneath stained glass windows, and buttercream frosting on a cake.

     

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