The sermon about the Orlando Shootings I didn’t get to preach
As I scroll through the news feeds, the twitter feeds, and Facebook, I’m overwhelmed by the support I see from some, the silence from others and the anti-gay rhetoric from still others. My heart breaks for my LGBTQ family. Family, because we are all created in the image of God, who loves us as s/he created us.
We hold our services on Saturday evening, so I wasn’t able to address this during our service this past weekend; it hadn’t happened yet. So let me say something here and now.
I am grieved on so many levels by this atrocity, this tragedy. I am grieved that so many people have died and been wounded. I grieve for the families of those killed. I grieve for those family members who had rejected their LGBTQ child, only to wake up on Sunday and realize they had lost him/her/them, without ever being able to say “I love you” again. In this, I pray that this might be a wake-up call to parents everywhere who have rejected a child for whatever reason, but especially to those who have rejected their child because his/her/their sexuality doesn’t line up with the parents’ religious beliefs. I pray that over the next weeks and months, there will be many families reconciled, relationships restored, partners accepted, because this has been a call for them to re-examine their decisions, their words, their beliefs. That this will be a call to return to loving and accepting their child as they did on the day that child was born, already gay, or lesbian, or trans, or other, just not knowing it yet.
I grieve for us as a country. A country that was founded on the belief that all are created equal and deserving of inalienable rights, has become a country even more divided than when it was founded. The founders of this country tried, within the context of their understanding, to create something new and hopeful, where all could be equal. (Yes, I know, unless you were a woman, a slave, or from an indigenous people group ). For all the years since, there has been slow progress to make this a reality; a slow recognition of who that “all” encompasses. I am grieved that at this point in time, rather than seeing further progress, we see fear, violence, bigotry, hatred, and exclusion as the beliefs held and practiced by so many in our nation.
I grieve for my LGBTQ friends and family, who have been and continue to be the targets of hatred, misunderstanding, homophobia, transphobia, and rejection, just because they were born with a different sexual orientation. I run out of words to say when I think of all the pain and fear that this has caused and will continue to cause for the LGBTQ community, not just in Orlando, but everywhere. I offer myself as an ally, as someone who loves you, who wants you to know that you are loved by your creator. Who made you fearfully and wonderfully and who rejoices over you with singing. I stand with you and mourn with you. I will have your back.
As a faith community, as a church, we need to do more that speak. We need to act. To be a safe place for all to come, to find refuge, safety, and acceptance. I think we’ve made a good start. Let’s not lose faith and energy in this time of sorrow and need. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be exploring some ideas for practical ways that we as a faith community can help. If you have ideas, please let me know. See you all at Pride!