Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore....And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
* * * * *
So having learned that the Book of Revelation is not terrible, but rather, wonderful, and having found that no, it is not in conflict with the gentle, welcoming, forgiving, compassionate Christ of the Gospels, I was ready to say, yes. Unreservedly, completely, yes. I wanted to reaffirm the vows of my baptism and commit myself not just to God, as I had already done long ago, but to the church itself.
I signed up for the confirmation class led by the Rector of St. Bartholomew's on Park Avenue, the Rev. Bill Tully. What a gracious, solemn, wise, marvelous preacher, teacher and leader he is. Though I already knew that I was going to be moving to Oregon, St. Bart's had become an extremely special place in a relatively short time, and I wanted to be confirmed there, in that beautiful space, surrounded by my new friends, so that I would always have a unique spiritual tie.
But, it was not to be. As chance would have it, an opportunity opened up that made April 22nd, 2007, the best possible day for me to hit the road and start the long drive to Oregon.
My confirmation had been scheduled for April 29.
In an odd, convenient coincidence, the rental car place was just one block from St. Bart's, so on the morning of the 22nd I attended one last service there before picking up the van. I was so full of so many emotions, I could barely stand. I was excited and terrified, optimistic and worried, relieved and panicked, all at the same time. I looked out across the sanctuary, I wondered how long it would be before I saw it again and I prayed, "God, when I get to Oregon, just lead me to the right place. Lead me to a place just like this. Lead me to a place with a passion for liturgy and a prophetic voice. Lead me to a place with a diverse, active community, a place where my being gay is simply a non-issue. Lead me to a place that will pull me in the directions I need to go, and a place that will hold me, just as I am."
And He did.
So, here I am, eleven months later, ready for confirmation. Tonight's the night.
Still, having come around to the idea that Revelation is about reconciliation, I realized there was one thing I needed to do: I invited my father to my confirmation, and he's coming.