Sing to the Lord a New Song
See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare;
Before they spring forth, I tell you of them.
Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth!
In the spring and summer of this year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on and then made a historical change in policy; one that allows openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members to become ordained ministers, elders and deacons.
In July, when the policy went into effect, no one knew exactly what the new world we were entering would look like. This weekend, we begin to see the joy and extraordinary gifts that our church will receive.
On Saturday, Scott Anderson, who has been waiting twenty years for this moment, will be ordained to the ministry of Teaching Elder in the PCUSA. Scott’s integrity, patience and kindness are gifts to the church. And then on Sunday, More Light Presbyterians will host house parties in congregations and homes across the whole country, celebrating Coming Out month. These celebrations will also explore how the PCUSA can continue to spring forth with a gracious welcome for all people.
In this moment, the PCUSA joins with Christians through the ages who have found in the traditions of our faith a fresh word from God just as the prophet Isaiah foretold.
The “former things” that are coming to pass now draw us into the same experience in our time that Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles where Peter and Paul learn “What God has made clean, you must not call profane (Acts 10:15).” How awesome it is to live in a moment where, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the same kind of shift in understanding is taking place: Many of those who formerly viewed LGBT people as outcasts now — by God’s doing — are embracing them!
All this coming out stirs me to rise up and sing a new song of thanks and praise!
And what I know for sure is that we can only move forward, together. The steadfast love and prodigious gifts of LGBT Presbyterians like Scott guarantee the opening of our eyes to the presence of LGBT people who have been among us all along. We will have a steady, joyful coming out of our LGBT members who will continue to lead the turn of the PCUSA toward the new thing God has in store for us.
All the world will see that we are Christians by our love and yearn to join in.
Reverend Janet Edwards