Last Friday when word came down of the Supreme Court’s decision about marriage equality, the high school youth of my church were on a mission trip. Our Youth Director Margaret wanted to choose the right moment to gather them together and give them the news. When that time came, she got everyone’s attention.
“I have something important to tell you all,” she said, and the usually boisterous group got quiet. “Today the Supreme Court affirmed marriage equality as a constitutional right across the country.”
The response, Margaret reports, was immediate and spontaneous. Everyone began to cheer. For some, the cheering was accompanied by tears of joy. And then one of the young people said, “I want to be at our church this Sunday for worship. I want to be with the whole congregation. I wnat to be a part of the celebration”
The Mission Trip schedule called for them to worship together as a group on Sunday morning and then return to Seattle Sunday night. But in that moment, their thoughts turned not only to their own future, but to their faith community.
In the end, they decided to stay where they were and finish the mission trip as planned. But I love the fact that they knew that their joy would be met, matched and amplified by a whole congregation of folks who have worked so faithfully to arrive at this moment.
I have written here before about Marriage Equality, which had to do with my own state’s vote in 2012 to affirm marriage rights for all couples. But today I want to celebrate the future, and young people who know that this journey towards justice is a journey of faith.
One story I told from two years ago seems appropriate here as well. On the Sunday morning after our state’s vote, when marriage licenses were available, we had celebratory “wedding cakes” after worship. They were displayed in our church lounge before worship, and a group of young children surrounded one of the cakes.
“Who’s getting married?” one of kids asked. The adults all looked at each other, wondering for a moment about how to answer. Eyes turned to me. I am the pastor, after all. Not sure what I would say, I began.
“Have any of you heard about the new law in our state about marriage equality?”
A few kids say they have.
“Well, today is the first day of that new law. So this cake is for gay and lesbian couples, in our church, and all over our state, who can get married now.”
After a moment of silent reflection, one child asked the most important question: “Does everyone get some?”
That story stays with me because, like the story of the reaction of our youth last week, it reminds me that my congregation has so thoroughly embraced the justice journey of marriage equality that children gathered around a cake have no bigger question than whether or not they get a piece.
And now, the answer is not just for my congregation and my state. Now, all the youth of my congregation know that wherever their life’s journeys takes them across this country, they can choose marriage. They also know in their hearts that their congregation will celebrate with them. And when a child looks at a wedding cake and asks “Does everybody get some?” this time my answer applies to the whole nation. “Yes,” I get to say, “Everyone does.”