June is often celebrated as Pride month. For me Pride is a celebration of the freedom to be our true selves. It’s acelebration of who we, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning people, are – deep in the very core of our being. Pride is about standing up and exercising our right and our responsibility to be who God made us to be, even and especially in opposition to a culture that sometimes tries to make us all the same, to make us all fit an approved mold. And, although we have come to the end of Pride month, we don’t stop being and celebrating our fabulous selves.
If there is anywhere we should celebrate all aspects of how God has made us, including our diverse sexuality and gender expressions, it is in our church communities. We aren’t disembodied spirits floating around. God created us with bodies and we are beautifully made. We are also created to be in community with each other, not to be all the same, but to love others just as they are with their own unique gifts and talents as God’s holy, precious, and beautiful children. People come with bodies that love, yearn, feel, and want the fullness of life that God intends for them. We are created tall or short, skinny or fat, lesbian or gay or straight, male or female or transgender, or perhaps not fitting into any of those labels. And God loves us just as we are, in all of our wonderful, beautiful diversity.
We need never hide who we are, especially not from God or from ourselves. Indeed, to be in an honest and fulfilling relationship with the Divine, we need to embrace who we are. We need to accept our worth as God’s children, just as we are right now. Our diversity comes from God, a God of inclusion who celebrates everything about what it means to be human, honoring each person in their uniqueness. How can we do anything less than be who God made us to be?
And so celebrations like Pride, celebrations of our diversity and worth as unique people, are incredibly important, especially in the church, which has so often in the past practiced exclusion. It is important for us to stand up and speak out both inside church and outside of church, to let our voices be heard. It is important that we demand justice and honor and embrace our diversity, celebrating who we are – lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight, male, female, unisex, transgender, queer, label-defying – and be filled with joy! However we identify ourselves, or even if we choose not to put a label on our gender or sexuality, we are God’s holy, precious, and beautiful children.
Blessings, Rev. Ken Arthur
P.S. This reflection was inspired by the sermon from June 27, which, unfortunately, was not recorded.