Boston Gay Pride Interfaith Service

by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

This weekend I was invited to participate in the Boston Gay Pride Interfaith Service. It took place at the Old South Church in Copley Square right before the parade on Saturday morning. It was wonderful to be a part of what turned out to be an inspiring service on many levels and I was heartily welcomed into the group of clergy which included Buddhist, Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and Yoruba representation — in addition to the Pagan. I look forward to having the opportunity soon to connect more closely with the organizing committee for this service and, perhaps, to finding some EarthSpirit members who would like to coordinate an EarthSpirit presence at Pride events around the state next year.

My part of the service was the “Call to Worship” which happens at the beginning of a Christian service as a transition into the focused spiritual part of the service after the welcoming remarks and announcements. The theme of the entire Pride week celebration was “no more and no less.” Here is the text of my remarks:
Good morning,
We come together to begin this very festive day with a moment of reflection on, and celebration of, our personal connections with spirit, We do this here in a community of others for whom that spiritual connection is also an important part of life. Look around you and see the diversity of who we are here – We come from many backgrounds, from many spiritual traditions, we have different temperaments, different lifestyles and different perspectives. But at the root of it all, what we share in common is our humanity and, through that, our own special place in the web of creation.

In that web of life are the trees, the stars, the rocks, the rivers, the birds, the grasses on the plains, the thundering waves of the ocean, the insects in your garden, the deer and the coyotes in the forest, the mist rising at dawn. What wonder we can know when we open and experience the majesty of each of these! And what wonder can we know when we see that we are, each of us, no more and no less than any of these beautiful and powerful aspects of creation. That we are the earth itself.

Many people are inclined, I think, to choose to see themselves as separate from the world, to create an “us and them” divide that either values humans as the owners of a world where everything is created especially for our own use, or to denigrate our role to that of a cancer – eating away at our fragile eco-system and destroying our home.

While it is undoubtedly true that we humans have extraordinary capacities to create and to destroy, and that with that capacity comes an obligation to be conscious of our actions and take responsibility for them, as long as we keep viewing ourselves separate from the web we will not know how to keep it intact. We will not know the depth of the ways that our tugging on one strand affects the rest.

My experience has been that when I am able to let go of my assumptions, to allow myself to move away from my rational, judgmental brain and into my heart and spirit – to find that place in this sacred web where I belong, that place where I am one with the very soul of the Earth and the sky and all the beings in them, I can touch the mystery I am a part of, and find direction and peace.
I invite you to join me now in a call and response to open ourselves deeply to the sacred of which we are a part – no more, and no less than any other. My daughter, Isobel, will sing the response part with you – the words are simply “I am the Earth”

We then sang my chant “I am the Earth” together as a call and response.

(I was followed by a Muslim woman who read a scripture from the Koran and then by a Yoruba practitioner who led us all in a drum blessing.)

[Photos by Moira Ashleigh]

Leave a Reply