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.
As we engage in the process of reflection, recommitment and renewal attendant to the Lenten season, I want us to focus on one of the two essential elements of life. In this instance we will not consider the air we breathe (as important as it is) but rather we will consider water.
Water is understood in some ways to define human experience, nourishing and sustaining all life on planet Earth. Water is indeed a gift of nature. Water is a product of imagination and an inescapable part of the ecological reality of life. Our very bodies are comprised of and dependent upon water.
Water is precious and we have come to understand ever more profoundly since the lead- poisoned disgrace of Flint, Michigan and the unethical, immoral threat to the Mississippi River posed at Standing Rock that “Water Is Life!”
In recent days I spent time on the continent of Africa and there the bare essentials of life are more clearly visible in daily existence. Among the common experiences of living is the requirement of water. I cannot count how many times throughout the day I witnessed the process of either people carrying water from one place to another or pumps and wells being accessed to draw water.
In my quiet moments, it occurred to me that in truth, one cannot expect someone else to carry the water. In many regards, each of us should carry our own.
Consider the phrase, “to carry someone’s water.”
As a former high school basketball team manager, I know something about the position of “water boy” who is charged with catering to the players’ comfort. Often, people view serving as water boy is the lowest job in the team hierarchy. Yet, without the water provided by the waterboy, dehydration, cramps and the inability to perform are guaranteed results.
In these future-defining times, we ought endeavor to imagine and embrace new possibilities to creatively carry our own water. To carry water is to take on primary responsibility, to ensure something is accomplished, to resist and to take action – even though the people elected, appointed and others holding positions of authority should be the ones doing the work.
I pray that a renewed internal urgency will arise in each of us to be responsible agents in justice-making. All persons are diminished when any one person, group or segment of our society is diminished. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was correct in 1963 and even more correct today, “No, no, we are not satisfied and will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Oh, Holy One and Creator, grant us more grace and divine fortitude to unceasingly pursue your kin-dom here on earth. Remind us always of your requirements to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you, our God.
Reverend Cedric A. Harmon
Executive Director, Many Voices A Black Church Movement for Gay and Transgender (LGBTQ) Justice