I am grateful to share with you today my latest Believe Out Loud blog post, where I make connections between being "bi" in both spirit and body, as well as the quality of empathy I see in the Holy Spirit that fills the people on this day of Pentecost.
I was talking with my friend, John, recently about the wonderfully vigorous national conversation about marriage sparked last month by the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA. John agreed with a politician who publicly expressed a fear that straight people might pretend to be gay so that they could get the special benefits of having a “gay marriage.” I shared with him how this made no sense to me.
What a momentous thing that Jason Collins has become the first American NBA player to come out as gay! At the same time, I agree with Frank Bruni at the New York Times: This will undoubtedly bring a better day for our society, but the best day will come when matters like this are no longer a concern for anybody.
Creating Change is the annual organizing conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. It is big, refreshing, challenging—great for running into old friends and making new ones—and generally awesome. Creating Change shot me home like the ball out of a cannon. Let me try to inspire similar enthusiasm in you by sharing some reflections on my experience there.
Recently, I was invited to preach at Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church, an open and affirming church up in Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, when my husband got ill and needed to be hospitalized, I had to cancel my trip to Madrona at the last minute. In anticipation of my time at Madrona Grace, I had prepared a sermon and I want to share it with you here as the second part in a series of posts on the Biblical roots of why I stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
It is a privilege to be Jesus’ arms and legs in this world. At the same time, our spirits can falter at the challenge of sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. For many of us it is not something we ever thought would be needed in our neighborhood. We are shocked how often now those we know have no knowledge or experience of God in Christ or had a bad experience with the church. It takes courage to witness—this prayer becomes ours.
Jesus springs forth from the grave vibrant with life! Perhaps the willingness Gerald May speaks of is another way of capturing the heart of human “courage.”
Holy Week always invites such an intense mixture of feelings. There is the raucous fun of Palm Sunday, the contention of the debates with the powers that be, apprehension at Jesus’ predictions of what is to come, the intimacy of the upper room, the anguish of the trial and execution, the mournful pause on Saturday—dwelling on the loss and holding at bay the exhilaration of Easter. With this wealth of emotion, Holy Week is really a microcosm of life.
Courage is definitely called for these days if the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is truly to be the people of God in Christ with joy and power. Courage is a gift that the Holy Spirit places before us every morning, hoping so lovingly that we will accept it. When we do, we will find in both the routines and the surprises of each day the opportunity to risk everything to proclaim Christ in word and deed.
The carol associated with Epiphany, “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” is probably my favorite song of the whole Christmas season. Since I was very young, I could feel the sway of the camels who carried the wise men day and night while they kept their eyes fixed on the star leading them ever onward to Jesus.