“…love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. … Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” And, money can’t buy it. Which is good because most of us here don’t have much money but we have lots of love. Love for Emily and Sarah. Love for one another.
And it was poverty--the poverty of widows--that drove Ruth and Naomi back to Naomi’s homeland. In the land of the Israelites, widows could eat. Naomi was too old to work the fields at the harvest, so Ruth traveled there with her because she loved Naomi. Ruth would be Naomi’s salvation. Ruth placed her life in the hands of strangers so she and Naomi could survive and thrive. “Where you go, I will go…your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
By attending this celebration, we are all promising to support this marriage. We have two women who love this community and are willing to make personal sacrifices to live here so they can continue to support the Ruths and Naomis and many who are disenfranchised in our community.
I have known Emily since she was about 11--off and on because I once worked with her mom. She arrived at our church in Montesano looking for a minister who would accept her for who she was and I am happy I was able to be that person. A person who could say that God loves her for herself and she could follow Christ and be loved by a Christian community unconditionally. The way Sarah and Emily love all of you who are here today.
Sarah walked into our church 9 years ago and told us she was called to be a priest. Our church sponsored her for ordination and supported her when she went to seminary. We continue to support her in this ministry she founded here in Grays Harbor even though our bishop had ideas about using her talent in other places. Places where she could earn more money. But, as I said earlier, money can’t buy love. And money can’t buy their love for one another and this community.
These two women are my friends and I care deeply about what happens to them. There was about five minutes a while back when I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t they make an awesome couple!” Then I mentally smacked myself for assuming any two lesbians would find one another appealing--after all, the hetero world doesn’t work that way. I set that aside.
Then, one night, my partner and I were returning from a trip. Sarah planned to meet us at the airport to pick us up in our car. What a wonderful favor from a friend! But, for some reason, Emily was coming, too. I was like, “Okay, seems excessive for two people to take the time to do this, but alright.” At one point, we were all talking and I looked back at the two of them sitting in the back seat and, lo and behold, they were holding hands! I looked them in the eyes and smiled!
Now, because Sarah is a priest, the bishop is all up in her bizness. As it happened, I had some business with the diocese--the Episcopal Church in Western Washington--the next day so I was dropped off, of all places, at the Archdeacon’s house! Our archdeacon is in constant contact with the bishop and this brought up another issue--would she feel the need to tell the bishop about this development? So, Sarah told the archdeacon that she and Emily were dating and, of course, she was going to contact the bishop the very next day.
It has been a joy seeing Emily and Sarah develop their couplehood. They are so passionate and compassionate for folks in our community. Both are willing to speak truth to power and are happy to stand alongside those who are directly impacted by people who wield that power. I am so blessed to be able to work alongside them, to love them, and to love the people we all want to see succeed.
Love…”rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
And, now, we will do what we all came here to do.