Posted December 12, 2014 by Marg Herder
It’s the 12th again. The day I post on the Patheos Emerging Voices blog. Today I’m remembering the Christmas Eve services at the church I attended when I was young. In doing so I discuss a little of what I am learning from Mary, the mother of the Human One.
The setting was perfection. Large gothic sanctuary, slate floor, wooden pews with iron candle holders, a hundred soft flames gently illuminating the space. Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday were the only services conducted by candlelight. The stunning chancel window glowed, Jesus with angels surrounding him, the Ascension. Hundreds of organ pipes framed the rose window in the back. Timpani, brass, and the choir looked out high above the congregation.
I used to wait the entire year for it. The most beautiful service. The most thrilling music.
Even after it was decided that as a lesbian I was not worthy of Jesus, of my church— even after I stopped attending weekly services— I still stubbornly showed up late at night on Christmas Eve.
If I popped into the choir room before they went up to the sanctuary I’d be urged to put on a robe and get a music folder. They knew me in the choir. They knew my heart and my voice. Because I’d grown up in that choir room, in that church, and those people wearing the dark red robes were the inhabitants of the village that raised me. And for this night only, I would become one of them again.
They were not the ones who deemed me unworthy. That decision was handed down by a very few, the men who sat in front, wore the black robes, and loved the sound of words.