Let us pray:
Through the written word,and the spoken word,may we know your Living WordJesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Dean Harvey Gutherie had just said to me, just five seconds after pleasant introductions. "We have a lot to discuss. You have important questions to ask me about how this seminary will prepare you for ministry. I have important questions to ask you about how your bishop and diocese will support you while you're here. So, let's get on with it. The world is too dark and too broken a place for us to play polite games with each other."
Isn't that where grief sometimes drives us?
Love, not fear. Justice, not poverty. Peace, not war. A life of service to and sacrifice for others. THAT, my friends, was at the very heart of Lauren Gough. It's what gave passion to her life.
Love. Justice. Service and Sacrifice were the four steps in the dance of ministry that animated her life. Her partner was Jesus, whom she loved, and they danced together to the music of the gospel.
And, you better believe it had an 'yee-haw' in the middle of it.
If you missed that about Lauren because she annoyed you or intimidated your or scared you or, like divine sandpaper, she just plain rubbed you the wrong way, well, you missed out on a manifestation of the love of God. You missed an opportunity to let her divine sandpaper bring out your own more authentic grain, and to shine with your own inner beauty and truth.
That love of her dance partner Jesus and her life partner Judy gave her the courage to be all of who she was, without apology. And, that love compelled her to work for the full inclusion of all God’s people. No outcasts. Not on her watch. Not in her church. No matter who that angered or annoyed. No matter what it cost her, personally.
NB: A video of this sermon along with pictures and the service bulletin, can be found here on the St. Martin in the Fields web site.