Tuesday, July 10, 2007

That’s How the Light Gets In

A sermon preached by The Right Reverend Leopold Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida, at his Annual Visitation for Confirmation on Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2007, at Trinity Cathedral, Miami.

“Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”

Those words come from a poem by the Canadian poet and composer Leonard Cohen. I thought that they were an appropriate way for your Bishop to be able to make you aware of the different cracks that exist at present in your church.


You see, reason is what would not allow us over 400 years ago to accept the theory of "Limbo" that Rome so assiduously taught up to a few weeks ago. Also it didn't allow us to insist that the sun rotated around planet earth and that our planet was the center of the universe. Now, reason was also a factor that prevented us from saying dumb things like that the Teletubbie Tinky Winky was gay because of his triangular antenna, his color purple and his handbag.

Reason has helped us to recognize that Blacks and Hispanics are not inferior, that men are not superior to women and that women can and are called by God--and ordained by the church--to be deacons, priests and bishops.

What is exciting is that the Spirit of God has been active during these days and is helping us to comprehend that human beings don't end up being gay or lesbian because they are possessed by demons or have simply chosen an "unnatural" way of life.

It was that 3-legged stool of Anglican thought, Scriptures, Tradition and Reason, that moves the members of our church to be involved in bringing justice and peace and "to respect the dignity of every human being."


Some talk about the decrease in membership in our church as a symptom of our discussion on sexuality. But they forget to mention that the main exodus from our denomination was not because of Prayer Book changes or the ordination of women or the acceptance of gays and lesbians, but it was mainly due to the departure of white persons who refused to worship next to a black person who had dared to enter into their beloved homogeneous, culturally friendly environment through cracks that were being made by our clergy and laity to end segregation and discrimination.


If we are not hypocrites and hold double standards, we must say that injustice is injustice in any way, shape or form that it may appear. As a Hispanic I say that if I want justice and equality for those like me, then I have no business whatsoever being part of anything that seeks to deny justice and equality for others, even if those others are gays and lesbians. You should not talk about equality on issues of race and culture if you at the same time--using selected verses from the Bible--refuse justice and the full participation in the life of our church to others with a lifestyle different from yours.


There are other churches in our country where blacks and Hispanics are kept away. There are quite a few other churches out there where gays and lesbians are bashed and considered evil, where war is praised and encouraged, where women are kept in their place, churches where cracks are not allowed to happen. This Cathedral is not one of them.

Now if you really insist on becoming an Episcopalian, then welcome to this church and help us to make sure that we keep some of our cracks. It's important--you see, that's how the light gets in.

Click here to read the entire sermon.

No comments: