This past Sunday, one of our Old Testament lesson options was from the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:22-24). Here the prophet gives us a poetic vision of the Kingdom of God. He says that the Kingdom is like a tender sprig of a mighty cedar that God tends and lovingly cares for until this sprig itself becomes a noble tree. Then we are told, “Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.” It is a reminder to us that the embrace of God’s Kingdom may be broader than we or others expect.
This is a theme that we hear again and again throughout Scripture. This poetic vision of the inclusivity of God’s Kingdom, where every kind are welcome and represented – seems particularly fitting for this month of June when people around the world celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
pride can also be a consciousness of the dignity that each of us possesses as a beloved creation of God.
But wait a minute, we might think. Isn’t pride one of the seven deadly sins? Why would we want to celebrate that? Like many words, pride, of course, has multiple meanings. Yes, pride can be a sin when we are talking about that sense of selfishness and entitlement with which all human beings battle with some regularity. But pride can also be a consciousness of the dignity that each of us possesses as a beloved creation of God. It is this particular sense of the word that is meant when we talk about this month celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month is about celebrating the grand diversity that God has created in humanity
For me, Pride Month is about celebrating the grand diversity that God has created in humanity and on a more personal level, for giving thanks for how God created me as a gay man. To some, that may seem like an odd thing for which to be giving thanks. Afterall, we don’t necessarily thank God that we are born right-handed or with blue eyes or curly hair. But neither are most folks shamed for having those characteristics. That, sadly, is not the case for many of us in the LGBTQ+ community.
Most of us, at some point in our lives or many, have been made to feel unworthy, unwanted, and unloved by individuals, family members, society, and yes, particularly the Church – just for being who we are. After such treatment, it can take years for folks to come to see themselves in a different light. It is hard work to learn to love and accept yourself when you have been torn down in such a way. It is difficult to remember that you are God’s beloved child when some Christian siblings have told you that you are intrinsically disordered. Pride Month has developed as a way for this community to celebrate who we are – to give thanks for how God has made us and to remember how we and those who came before us have endured in the face of discrimination and hate.
This month, we give thanks to God who has marvelously made each and every one of us. We celebrate, in particular, the gifts of the LGBTQ+ community in our Church. We pray for an end to discrimination and oppression for all people. May our Church and our churches reflect the welcome of God’s Kingdom here and now for people of every kind.