No Tears for Queers: Remembering Matthew Shepard
The Rev. Canon Ed Sniecienski
History teaches us that eventually things get turned upside down. Saints, during their lives, are often misunderstood. When will we learn to be thoughtful about who we label saint or sinner? Pay attention, because saints come in ways that we’re all too often not prepared for.
Speaking of someone many label a saint, Matthew Shepherd died 14 years ago on October 12. There are many things that could be said on the anniversary of Matthew’s death and undoubtedly there will be no shortage of reflections about a life that could have been. I started to wonder what Matthew would have to say. I started to wonder about how Matthew feels now. In prayer it came to me............
“LGBT brothers and sisters, its ok – God made it so. Parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, strangers, friends, foes, saints and sinners, like it or not, God made it so.
I’m no saint and don’t make me out to be one. At my funeral, I saw a sign that read 'no tears for queers' and I agree. Tears are for the children of God, not for the labels by which we’re defined. I knew my truth because I listened to God speak through my heart. My truth is His truth and it empowers me to be who I am.
The funny thing about truth is that we don’t really understand the freedom it brings. Being a truth teller is hard and telling ourselves the truth, even harder. Most people don’t get it. But when they do tell themselves the truth about who they are and when they live steadfastly into their truth they begin to live their lives out loud. Here's the truth I want to share with you: Living my life out loud inspired others to start living their lives out loud. They began to wonder what their truth was and perhaps find the courage to tell themselves and others that truth and begin to live their lives out loud. What if we lived in a world where everyone lived their lives out loud…it might look a lot like “God’s Kingdom.”
Live out loud, find fresh vision; love so deeply that you’re free to face the future with a steady eye forgiven and strong in hope.
Ed Sniecienski’s professional career encompasses forty years of diverse experience in the fields of Education, Business and Non-profits. In 2001, he joined the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles as special assistant and senior advisor to the Bishop. In January, 2005, Ed was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church and named Canon in 2007. Recently, he launched Discern with Me an interactive web site where we can share with each other our journeys through the “in-between” places of our lives. Ed is a proud member of Integrity and the LGBT community.