“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man." Luke 6:22
I recently went to a wedding of two friends of mine who happen to be both women. Their service was held in the back yard of supporters of theirs and although it was small, the spirit was of celebration and joy. However, the words from Luke hit me like a lighting bolt as they said their vows. I have listened to my friends stories of what it is like to interview for church positions and people ask, "What is your sexual orientation?'. Their ordination journey is similar to those who have a call from God to serve, and to make new disciples for Jesus Christ. They have done their work to educate and prepare themselves for this work. They have submitted themselves to the process of interviews, personality tests, and written manuscripts. Their call has been confirmed by those in authority. Yet, this simple question about sexual orientation is asked as though the sexual orientation of someone would then somehow void all the preparation and their call from God to be effective pastors.
Our United Methodist discipline calls on us to affirm the sacred worth of every being, as a child of God, yet we often fall into the trap of defining others by their sexual orientation, by the color of their skin, by the income they earn. We sin against God when we choose to believe that someone is less than, unworthy of being treated as a sacred child of God. And those who live outside the circle of unconditional love and acceptance live persecuted lives, feeling the hate and the anger daily. Yet in the midst of this reality two people, beautifully alive, servants of God, dare stand up and commit themselves to one another, and preach to us a word of love. They did so quietly, not to cause too many ripples, and this reflects who they are. I on the other hand would dare to stir the waters and challenge us to overcome any prejudice, any hatred, any sin with God's grace to welcome those who are persecuted, to offer them a place in our hearts.
Help me O God to melt away all that keeps me from loving unconditionally those you have created and hold dear, Amen