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Yes, yes, Lord, yes! Yes, yes, hallelujah, yes!

Thank you Sister Daniel! What an inspiring update on this year’s Loaves and Bitches campaign.

A couple more announcements before we close out our service.

First off, the Lazarus Support Group for survivors of botched Botox treatments will be meeting on Tuesday this week.

Second, our final hymn for today’s service will be “Young Hearts Run Free” by Candi Staton. Sheet music should be available as an insert in this week’s program. As always, our soloist will be everyone.

Lastly, I’d like to invite the congregation to join us for post-prayer fellowship and brunch in the reception hall. It’s $15.00 for a single plate and one drink, or $35.00 if you want the wristband for bottomless Bloody Mary Magdalenes and Jesus Save Me-mosas. Last week, we raised $1,500 to provide medical care for people displaced by the hurricane in Haiti, which is a true testament to the spirit of Christ I feel in this building every Sunday morning.

But all is not perfect here in our Promised Land.

Within the very walls of the Boystown Pentecostal Church of Madonna and The Madonna, there is hurt. There is confusion. There is sadness.

As your pastor, I know I stand up here, Sunday after Sunday, reading the Good Book and reading those amongst us that need to get read. Reading some of you bitches to filth. And I do it because I love every one of you.

But today, I need your help. I need your prayers. Your love. I need you sneaky snake-handlers. You fruity Pharisees. You jilted Judases.

See, I met a man after church two Sundays ago. Yes, yes, Lord, yes!

There I was, minding my own business, walking up the stairs to the L platform, when this angel in gray sweatpants and a Lakeview Crossfit T-shirt trips and bumps into me.

Now, you know how I do. I’m not much of one for signs and visions, but at that moment, I felt something rise up in my soul AND my Bonobos.

I swear, I felt like that poor Mexican boy must have felt when he saw the Virgin appear out of nowhere on that hill in Guadalupe! Or how Carrie felt when Big stopped to help her put all those condoms back in her purse!

We started talking. What a man. With a job and a car and, according to those sweatpants, gifts from God so great there aren’t enough eggplant emojis in the world to go along with the hashtag for his blessings.

Bitches in Christ, you know I sealed the deal then and there even though I must’ve missed three trains just standing on those stairs, chatting and batting my natural lashes!

His name was Simon, but as some of you know, my ex’s name is also Simon, so I put him in my phone as Zelotes. We got to texting, immediately, hot and heavy.

Didn’t take long to set up a date: BYOB at El Maya on Margarita Monday, the second holiest of days. Let me tell you, he was just the sweetest thing. So sweet I didn’t sleep with him on the first night! I didn’t even have to pray on it.

Everything was perfect. Like, he FaceTimed me the next day to say just hello. I tell you, the chemistry was thicker than the plot to betray Jesus.

Fast forward to Friday. We meet up again for drinks at a cute spot I know, which just happens to be conveniently around the corner from my place.

Drinks lead to more drinks, and pretty soon, we’re headed back to my apartment. I’ve got everything clean and ready, and I’m not just talking about the new couch and area rug I got from CB2 last month, girl.

Lord, what a night. Let me tell you, we used up more positions than there are Stations of the Cross! I don’t wanna speak too much on the subject, but I’ll just say that he entered me like the Holy Spirit and had me speaking in tongues.

The next morning, we got breakfast at Golden Nugget and made plans to hang out again that night. It felt soon, but I went with it. I was walking on water. And drinking tons of water, because honey, I was dehydrated.

After breakfast, I walked back to my place and started cleaning up. And that’s when I saw it. It.

An honest to Christ miracle.

There, on my Sferra Capri Honey Egyptian Sateen Cotton sheets, a Gun Oil lube stain in the shape of the VIRGIN MARY.

Yes, yes, Lord, yes! Yes, yes, hallelujah, yes!

It was a sign! A sign from Alanis Morrissette starring as God herself!

I folded the sheet carefully and used the vacuum packer my mom gave me for Christmas to seal The Lube Stain Virgin beneath protective plastic. That bitch gives the best gifts.

I see some of you are nodding because you already saw the picture I posted on Facebook. If you don’t believe me, look it up. Go ahead. This is the one time I won’t throw shade at you for having your phone out during a service.

It had already been a crazy 24 hours. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I was totally falling in love with the guy. And now this sign from above?

We meet up again that night around 9 o’clock.

I’m nervous, but I still show him The Lube Stain Virgin and tell him it feels like God is trying to tell me something. He looks at it for a moment, then says it looks more like Barbara Streisand than the Virgin. For a second, I’m offended. But I realize he’s half-Jewish and gay, so it kinda makes sense that’s what he’s gonna see.

We start kissing again. I’m super excited for a repeat of the night before, but we also had diner food for breakfast, so I excuse myself to go freshen up.

When I come back from the bathroom, everything starts to go wrong.

There he is, lying on my bed with his cute butt stuck up in the air, and this big ol’ grin on his face. He winks at me and says that he’s ready, and I swear to God, spreads his perfect little cheeks with his hands. Like he thinks I’m going to fuck him.

At first, I thought he was joking. So I laughed and tried to roll him over. He looks at me and says he had so much fun last night, he wants to see what it’s like on the other side of things. Then hands me a condom.

No, no, Lord, no.

I explained to him that I don’t do that. That I only receive the body and the blood, so to speak. Communion with me is a one-way street.

He asks me if I’m willing to try with him, because he’d really like it. I say no, and add that he’s so blessed, it’s such a shame for his talents to go to waste. He gets this serious look on his face then asks if I think I would ever be willing to try it in the future. Of course, I say no, and point out he said he’s versatile, so he should be good with whatever, right? I’m the one with the real preference.

He gets right up off the bed then and there, and starts putting on his clothes. He doesn’t say much. Just leaves.

I tried texting him and calling him for a few days, but he’s stopped responding. Sent me a single text message saying “I’m glad we met and you deserve to be happy. But I do too.”

It’s been rough coming back down to earth. I’ve felt more confused than the Roman soldiers must have felt when they found out Christ’s tomb was empty.

Why, why, Lord, why? Why send me this wonderful man, why send me a sign written in lube, only for it all to amount to nothing? Was I, like Job, and Noah, and Noah Wylie-post-E.R., being tested?

The rest of my week was not fun. I was laid low. Took long walks. Listened to Etta James. Called my mother. Watched too much Gilmore Girls.

Last night, I sat on my bed and prepared for today’s service, trying not to think about The Lube Stain Virgin vacuum-sealed on the top shelf in my closet. I was wrestling with the Lord. What I really wanted was to be wrestling with Simon.

I was flipping through my Good Book, looking at old dog-eared pages. Despite being in a very Old Testament mood, I felt something drawing me to Luke, Chapter 6. I was pretty mad at God, but not so mad that I didn’t trust my instincts.

That’s when He straight up dickslapped me in the face.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

I mean, hello! Are you there, God? It’s me, Horny Margaret! How could I have missed it?

25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

Did I just think it was always gonna be perfect? How naïve! And, finally!

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

So sayeth the Lord! I was such an idiot. To be selfish with your hole is wholly unholy. You have to give and take.

I know it’s a cliché, but God works in mysterious ways. And I truly think the The Lube Stain Virgin really was a sign for me in my time of need. Sent from heaven.

Not a sign that I had found the one, but that I was in danger of losing my way. Of losing something good. All because I wasn’t willing to try to grow.

I don’t know if Simon is the right man for me. But how will I ever if I’m completely unwilling to make a single sacrifice?

That’s what being a true Christian means, my sisterhood of men. My prancing Peters and swishy Simons. My masc Marks and fancy Phillips. It’s about giving. It’s about love.

Loving your fellow man, to the best of your heart’s ability, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone. Even if it’s hard for you. Even if you’re scared.

Even if it means I have to top.

And let us say AMEN.

Zach Straus

Zach Straus peaked at 15 and is mostly held together by masking tape.

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