This year for the season of Lent, HRC Foundation launched a campaign that aims to tell the stories of LGBTQ people of faith. The Lenten season marks the days which lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.
For Christians, the resurrection is both a reminder and celebration of life, yet people continue to suffer, including members of the LGBTQ community.
“A central and inspiring part of my ministry has been working to make sure the institutional church — and religion in general — is affirming and inclusive of LGBTQ persons,” said the Reverend Dr. J. Edwin Bacon, author and reverend in the Episcopal Church. “I am a more joyful and faithful priest because of that part of my work.”
We hope the meditations offered every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter on April 16, will bless souls, revive spirits, renew minds and strengthen bodies. These stories will be hosted on the HRC website and on Twitter and Facebook.
The Lenten Devotional is a faith-filled resource that compiles meditations written by 47 faith leaders from across the United States. This project and other public education work with faith leaders in HRC Alabama, HRC Arkansas and HRC Mississippi is made possible in part by the generous support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Keep me near you like a seal you wear over your heart, like a signet ring you wear on your hand. Love is as strong as death. Passion is as strong as the grave. Its sparks become a flame, and it grows to become a great fire! –Song of Solomon 8:6 (ERV)
Easter is an inside job.
It is crucial for LGBTQ persons and their allies to know this.
That’s how a young mother put it to me recently.
“I didn’t believe in the Resurrection,” she said, “until a debilitating bout with post-partum depression. No part of my life seemed ‘Spring-like.’ I’ve never felt such dark despair everywhere I turned. Then came a breakthrough, and I had a new life – with energy and hope.
But it happened inside. That’s where Easter happens.”
Easter. Resurrection. New Life. Whatever you call it, is about Love breaking through INSIDE the depths of our lives.
The Easter story is about the power in Love to overcome all obstacles and oppressions, even death. It’s about the power of Love coming into our lives through relationships. Easter is about Love breaking through to the most despairing and frightened parts of our selves.
One of the central stories of Easter is when Mary Magdalene comes to the garden where Jesus had been buried. Mary is described as having been healed of “seven demons.” She was marginalized by her mental illness until Jesus, the embodiment of Love, came into her life. That Easter morning, she came to Jesus’s tomb grief-stricken and distraught because Jesus, the primary care-giver in her life, had been murdered. She mistakes the figure before her as the gardener until Jesus calls her by name. In that moment, she hears and feels all the Love she had come to count on in Jesus. Then she knows he is alive because his Love for her is alive.
In the end, Easter is not about whether or not there was an empty tomb or a bodily resurrection.
Ultimately, Easter is about whether or not you and I know that death cannot murder Love.
Love is stronger than death.
If we know that Love is the strongest power in the Universe, then we will make sure all our relationships have more love in them.
That is what Easter is about – making sure our relationships have more love in them.
In the end, loving relationships are the only things that give us life.
This is particularly important for LGBTQ persons and allies.
No matter how much discrimination you feel today.
No matter how many aggressions you experience.
No matter how much oppression exists in public policy and personal behavior…God’s Love for you has not stopped.
God’s Love for you cannot be murdered by the state!
In these days, we are called to resist everything that dehumanizes another person.
We will have the energy, the passion and the persistence to answer that call to the degree that we access the all-powerful, never-ending, ever-present Love of God within us. Then, allow it to flow through us to others.
It’s an inside job.
Rev. Dr. Ed Bacon