This year for the season of Lent, HRC Foundation launched a campaign with the goal of telling the stories of LGBTQ people of faith. The Lenten season marks the days that lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.
During this holy season of Lent and as we regularly approach the Lord’s Table, we ask God’s forgiveness for the things we have done, and for the things we have left undone.
I am captured anew by the word – undone – in the midst of Lent. The word describes how we have felt in these post-election days.
We sing with the heart of God envisioned in Isaiah 5:4, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (5:4)
Pressing toward God’s vision for beloved community embracing all people, we have carried hope. The dismantling of protections is frightening and disillusioning and deeply painful. We observe and mourn the regression that is hurtful to LGBTQ persons and their allies.
So let us, in Lenten perseverance, pray.
In prayer, let us hold before God all that we called progress, now in danger of being undone. May good seed yet germinate in good soil. In prayer, let us hold before God all yet to be realized and pray, Thy will be done. In prayer, let us hold before God LGBTQI persons who are diminished, dismissed and othered.
And, in Lenten observance, let us act.
Acting with courage, let us name God’s call to inclusion of all LGBTQ persons in God’s beloved community. Acting with conviction, let us live as Jesus lived among us, offering vigilant and expansive welcome in our homes and our churches and our judicatories. Acting with faithfulness, let us continue our efforts toward full inclusion, confident that the Holy Spirit is at work among us.
We have felt undone in these days. Lent is, for us, a time of weeping, of mourning all that is stalled, unfinished, resisted.
Therefore, we remember Psalm 126, praying for the present terrors to be overwhelmed with God’s dream that is sure to come.
Do great things for us, Powerful and Loving God. Bring comfort and strength and peace to your people who seek to receive, live and share your dream. Help us live the way of Jesus, offering mercy and grace and love with humility and power. Fill this world with your Holy Spirit, bringing assurance to LGBTQ persons while invading closed spaces to change the hearts of the powerful.
Through the Triune God, we pray. Amen.
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church