Dad worked 35 miles away a civilian at an air force base. On the weekends he used precious time to work our small farm, the strawberries, the hay, the raspberries, a small brood of livestock.
There beginning his every weekend was our mom, dressing us up and carting us off to sabbath school. Saturday was half gone before the family got going. He tolerated it.
Fast forward 20 years and I am a young pastor in a neighboring church. There one story stood out. A young mother was bringing her little one to church. A church with no “Cradle Roll”.
So she asked permission and partitioned a place in the basement, part of the boiler room. She put up colorful pictures, found a few little chairs, and made a cradle roll sabbath school.
Come fall and the dignified ones met in nominating committee. As they approached their job they pulled out the church membership list, and the chair said, “We ought to first go through and decide who should not have an office” Then they started with her name, first of the “A’s”…. “She,” they agreed, “Should not be teaching.”
My habit, and in counsel with the church manual was to be there but not participate in the discussion. Yet I immediately stood up and spoke.
The reason, the weighty issue to which they felt they must stand for the right was this, she wore a wedding ring. I pointed out that this woman was doing a work no one else did. She did it in circumstances no one else would accept and finally, she was married to a man who tolerated her going off of a Saturday morning week after week. Yet she wanted to honor her marriage and show it.
In the end they began to understand, their task was to discover people who did things not to prevent people from doing things.
We should feel happy to be in the company of, by just knowing people like that. It is our privilege to be human together.
This memory came as a group of us considered LGBT issues and the difficulty of solemn assemblies simply to be human.
The progression is usually that we feel a sense of enlightenment and move on to “Tolerance” and then to “Acceptance.”
I’m suggesting that doesn’t take me far enough. The opportunity is to “Do life together.” That’s where we become friends. If we stop at breaking our arm patting ourself on the back because we “Tolerate” someone, we need to learn to do life together.
All these are people we need. We need them to enrich our lives and community. We need them in our traveling band. We need their insight, words, conversation. We need to “Do life Together.”