Sunday, March 11, 2007
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The Collect for today is:
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Collect is a a prayer that gathers (collects) our thoughts about God and God's activities in our lives. It begins with some property of God, then a request for ourselves growing out of that property, and an affirmation of the nature of God.
Today I am not preaching but am reflecting on my week and the Collect spoke to this week for me.
During the week an idea that grew from many people and many places came together as Rainbow Presence. Two of us agreed to put our names to it so it would not just be anonymous or just an issue. We put up a blog and sent out a Press Release (see it at the blog). Our idea was to help put a face on the "issue" of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and transexual members fo the Episcopal Church and for their allies/supportes to show a sign of "you are not alone." It was one of those ideas that emerged spontaneously after the meeting of Primates in Tanzania and their Communique. Easter became the date for a Rainbow Presence. It seemed so low key to us - a small rainbow pin, rainbow stole, or just a card in the offering plate. Just something to say "I am a member of this church not an ISSUE" or "You are not alone."
Who would have believed the outcry from those who oppose full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender Christians in the church. I won't print their words here but if you have on your asbestos wear and protective glasses on you can read it HERE and HERE. I was shocked by the vitriol, the threats of refusal to serve communion (excommunication) to rainbow wearers, and even violence from alleged Christians. I pity the poor unsuspecting Cursillista (another rainbow wearing group) who shows up on Easter with his or her rainbow.
On the other side a few who would be supportive questioned our choice of Easter and asked if we were politicizing a Holy Day. This was not a part of the earlier discussions when many could have objected or did not know we were talking about Rainbow Presence. Easter emerged as the day after there was some angry discussion about a Day Without Gay, a boycott by all who support full inclusion and a ban on all music, art, and liturgy by artists and writers who are gay. This transformed into a positive witness rather than a negative one. Easter just seemed to be a good day to witness to the power of the Resurrection in all our lives. Easter is the day when we celebrate that death is conquered and we are freed from its power.
Personally, I have discovered that although I knew the kind of threats that daily life brings to sisters and brothers who are gay, lesbian, transgender, I did not KNOW (duh - dope slap here) it in my person. It brings new meaning to the angels' words "Fear Not." Bishop Gene Robinson was on NH Public Radio this week and spoke to this among other things. Click HERE to listen.
I have learned a lot from the school of life this week. Being a believer in the Incarnation - God with us - as demonstrated by Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection, I think this is the school in which God teaches. The UCC Church says "God is still speaking,' (from John 16:12-13) and this week, for me, it is true.
Posted by Ann at 9:23 AM