On Sunday our church prayed for my friend the Rev. Marilyn Evans.
On Sunday Marilyn breathed her last.
Her death has given me opportunity to think about her life.
Marilyn was whip-smart, people wise and she could laugh in ways that created celebration around her.
And, Marilyn was courageous.
The last time Marilyn was at Annual Conference she preached. She unfolded in the midst of the 800 people gathered the needless soul carnage she lived as a lesbian woman serving in a church unwilling to acknowledge her fullness of God-created being.
Marilyn served the church as lay person, as ordained pastor, as mentor to many, and as a faithful witness to the transforming love of God as taught and lived by Jesus.
And, for too many of the years of her lived discipleship she was asked to be in the closet around one of the most spectacular gifts of her life: Her beloved, Mary.
When such things became legal, Marilyn and Mary married. I was blessed to sing at their wedding. Those gathered with them and those who carry that day in their hearts were and are in awe of the goodness of their love.
Marilyn served in a movement – the United Methodist Church – that made her love a chargeable offense.
God have mercy.
The United Methodist Church is in the process of cleaving. One set of Wesleyans will set up camp in what they are calling the Global Methodist Church. God go with them.
As for those of us who are tired of the squelching of the good news, we will continue to live into the vision cast by Jesus and the Minnesota United Methodist Church.
We will celebrate the love given to all of God’s children and we will give thanks that persons continue to be called into ordained leadership and we will sing at weddings and surround those who have the courage to claim love with all of the support our good hearts can muster and we will do all of these things
in the open, out of any constructed death-dealing closet.
We will love and we will support love and we will live because women like Marilyn lived and loved and live yet.
God give us a sense of joy as the unfettering of grace commences.