Categories
My poetry

poem: heaven is home to quick green things

i hope Your kin(g)dom’s halls are walled
with tree trunks

with canopies for roofs – in shades of green
never seen before by human eyes

and veritable riots of flowers, fruits,
everywhere i look! – and, when i need
a rest from color after vibrant color,

i hope the leafy canopy gives way  
   to black
          so deep
i almost believe
Your whole infinity
could curl up in its blue-black folds, with room
to spare for all your nursing galaxies.  

i’ve never understood
how they can read Your declaration “Good!
very Good!” – read how

You would not cease from making till You stood
amidst a million billion nebulae
that each great downdraft of Your mighty wings
sent aswirl with dust and heat that coalesced

into stars and planets, split again
into seas and lands, cells, plants, and only then

only then did You rest
as the milky way jingled on Your wrist –

they read of this
and then they paint Your heaven sterile white
as far as eye can see!
unbroken vault of
neutralizing light
devoid of all the variegating shades
and creatures that You made with Your own breath
and eons of delight.

i hope your kin(g)dom’s halls
are loud with birdsong
and prowling with cats, and rippling with fishes

i hope new life-forms bud a thousandfold
instead of shrinking down to human beings
and angels stock-still in one solemn mass;

for unity need not require extinction –

and You,  
    great bounty-bringer,     
        atom-splicer,        
            dance-delighter,
You

look lovelier when draped in gauzy rainbow,
a diadem of ivy laced with stars
and shadows silking over You like feathers –

and humankind alone, even backed by angels
cannot think of enough new ways to praise You…

so let the birds of the air, the slinking things,
the fish of the sea and seeds that split the dirt
join in on the praise of You that words don’t cover

and that rings clearer
through brown boughs than spotless white.


This poem was written by Avery Smith in the summer of 2020 and belongs to them. Please do not publish it anywhere, or use it in a service, without permission from the author. Reach out to Avery at queerlychristian36@gmail.com for that permission, or just to chat!

Hear Avery read this poem on YouTube.

About this poem: It’s important for us to reimagine the heavens we’ve been taught – for not only is whatever God’s kin(g)dom looks like far beyond anything our finite human minds can imagine, but in particular those endless uniform clouds and multitudes of faceless angels are antithetical to God’s love for diversity and color and life.

I wrote this poem because I’ve received so very many messages from people on my tumblr blog asking me in fear whether their beloved pet will be with them in heaven; or whether they’ll still be able to do the things they enjoy and see the people they love in heaven…and after much thinking and studying and praying I’ve found that the answer is yes! yes, of course! For what God calls Good here on earth (drawing from Genesis 1), God will restore, renew, transform for the coming age – not destroy.

Categories
Confession and Pardon LGBT/queer Liturgy Weddings

Confession and Pardon for a queer wedding

CALL TO CONFESSION

God desires that all Creation might be one, 
that love be central to human life; 
and that all beings might dwell together in right relationship. 

Trusting in God’s mercy, let us come to God and acknowledge
all that separates us from love’s source, all that wounds creation.
Let us pray:


PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Creator, you fashioned us with care and called us Good. 
Yet we point fingers at one another,
calling each other broken, evil, wrong.

Liberator, you freed us from the captivity of our own limitations and fears, teaching us your Truth, 
yet we continue to subject one another to yokes of falsehood, cruelty, and shame.  

Mischievous Spirit, you flow wherever you will, breathing fresh life into long-dead things and blowing down the walls we build – 
yet we lean into death and division, tearing your Creation apart.
We construct national borders and gender and race
to hold all that is different from us at arm’s length.

Forgive us. Nourish and invigorate us. 
Empower us to love bigger, seek deeper –
teach us how to join you in healing the world where we can.


ASSURING OF PARDON

Hear God’s words of grace for us, for you: 
“And I, once I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This is the new thing God has done and is doing: 
She has freed us from suffering and injustice
so that we might live into the goodness we were made to inhabit. 

Let this truth liberate you and bring you peace: you are forgiven. 
Let us share the peace of Jesus with one another – especially with those strangers who today become our family. 

(passing of the peace)

Friends new and old, we have been freed from sin and suffering –
and freed for joy and love. 

It is one iteration of that God-given love
that brings us together today:

The love uniting [name] and [name].


This is the liturgy I wrote for the wedding between me and Leah. Some of the sins I bring to this confession are ones inflicted particularly against LGBTQA+ persons. God calls us to a world of joy and justice, where such hatred is no more, so that we all might live and serve together.

Categories
Affirmation of Faith Liturgy

Affirmation of faith: Creator God who pulls open every shut door

As one, let us affirm our faith.

We believe in one Triune God, Creator of all things.
In that Beginning shared in Genesis,
She brooded over watery darkness, as in the womb,
and gave birth to Creation in all its remarkable diversity — 

including the day and night, and the various shades of dawn and dusk between;
including the sea and land, and the shores at which they meet;
including the plants and all kinds of animals, and beyond them
— the mollusks and fungi, and unicellular life…

and, finally, including human beings
with our vast diversity of mind and body
all crafted in the divine image.

We believe in one Triune God, Redeemer of humanity,
who came to Abraham and Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael,
Jacob and Rachel and Joseph;
who came to Moses — a stranger in a strange land, unsure of where he belonged — and liberated the Hebrew people from their bondage;

and who, in the Person of Jesus Christ,
entered Creation to liberate all peoples from all forms of bondage,
to redeem us even from sin, even from death itself. 

We believe in one Triune God, Sustainer of all things,
in whom we live, and move, and have our being

whose Spirit breathes life back into parched lands and withered hearts,
and pulls open every door we would keep shut,
sweeps away every line we draw in the sand.


I wrote this for a virtual service on August 16, 2020 (15A Proper), a service that centered around themes of reconciliation and interdependence. I preached on Genesis 45:1-15, exploring Joseph’s gender nonconformity as a source for the brothers’ violence against Joseph; how Joseph was brought from suffering into thriving and was celebrated for the very gifts that the brothers had hated; and how Joseph as the wronged party got to choose how and when reconciliation would take place.

Meanwhile, I wove that theme of reconciliation into my liturgy alongside our need for community and to draw the circles of our community ever wider, drawing from the alternative reading Isaiah 56:1-8.

To read or watch my sermon, visit here.