In Memory of Sam Cooke ("Wonderful World")
May 17, 2016
It’s been a while and I am sorry. Since my last Moments of Grace a few weeks have passed. I had to deal with several publishing and speaking deadlines all at once and I seem to recall there was also a Synod that got in the way. And then I had one son visit home and I took a little trip to see another son in the UK. But I’m back now. More or less. The past two days I have been nursing a cold and staying home to rest. Which gave me some time to read. This afternoon I read the May issue of Anglican Life to see what was happening across our three dioceses.
I really appreciated the Letters to the Editor. They made me think.
I really appreciated the letter by Susan Green and the letter by Joannie Coffin. I know Susan personally and I know Joannie by correspondence. I know them to be passionate people of faith. And I not only know Susan personally, I also know her partner Brenda. And I know their beautiful children, Michael and Lily.
It was Sam Cooke who said (or rather sang) these words in his song, Wonderful World: “Don't know much about history, Don't know much biology, Don't know much about a science book, Don’t know much about the French I took ... But I do know that I love you, And I know that if you love me, too, What a wonderful world this would be.”
I feel like Sam Cooke today. I don’t know much about a lot of things. But there are two things I know a lot about. And they are Love and Faith. They have shaped my whole life. I cannot remember a time I did not feel loved. I cannot remember a time I did not believe in God. I cannot imagine a journey through this world without Love and Faith. They are the lenses through which I view this world.
I don’t have to remind you that our Anglican Church is in a bit of a pickle over marriage equality these days. It feels a bit like a civil war some days. In fact our General Synod will vote this summer of whether or not to extend the right of marriage in the church to same-sex couples.
Which brings me back to Susan and Brenda and Michael and Lily. As Susan states in her letter, she and Brenda want to get married in their church. And they don’t want the church just as a backdrop to their ceremony; they actually believe in what the church teaches about marriage as a faithful union of love between two people. But you really need to know something else about them: their children are also people of faith. Susan and Brenda have already given the gift of faith to Michael and Lily who absolutely love going to church and have really taken to Godly Play at our Cathedral. Please read Susan’s letter for the rest of their story.
Like Sam Cooke, I might not know much about history, biology, science or French, but I sure recognize Love and Faith when I see them. I see them in abundance in Susan, Brenda, Michael and Lily. In fact, I see so much Love and Faith, that when I vote at General Synod this July I will be holding them in my heart as I cast my ballot. Their faces will be before me at that moment.
Members who are LGBTQ have blessed my church for a long time now. Some are in relationships; all are people of faith. What they seek today in marriage equality is not unreasonable. It is not only in line with the civil law; it is also in line with what the rest of us already have in the church. I know there are many who disagree and I understand their position, I really do.
But I believe that all members of my church should be treated the same. And if we can only do that, “What a wonderful [church] this would be.”