Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Always Comes, but at a Cost

Dear Friends:

Everywhere we look there are signs of Easter hope - the positive signs coming from the Supreme Court discussions; polls showing that increasing numbers of people support gay marriage;  more and more Believe Out Loud parishes and Proud Parish Partners; two openly gay candidates in Bishop selection processes; and news of the ministry of LGBT Anglicans in San Salvador.

The Rev. Dr. Caro Hall
Jesus’ ministry was to preach and demonstrate the reign of God where prisoners are set free, the blind see, and the lame leap for joy. I am quite convinced that if his earthly ministry were taking place today he would include LGBTQ people coming out and finding their right relationship with God and humanity. Jesus would include us because the reign of God is about becoming who we are truly made to be – as Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.” I give thanks this Easter that all over the world LGBTQ people are becoming more fully alive.

Yet Jesus’ ministry resulted in his death in shame and agony. Resurrection comes at a cost. There are many people who bear the marks of the struggle in their bodies and their psyches – including in our movement. I give thanks for those people.

Holy Week serves as a reminder that resurrection is not cheaply won. Jesus did not sail through his last mortal days always confident that he would be able to respond to degradation without retaliating, or that he would be able to bear the betrayal and pain with equanimity. Even as we celebrate the signs of new life and resurrection, we remember that it is only part of the story. Many have died in the struggle.

Even now, only nine states allow us to marry. Forty-one do not. Most Episcopal dioceses allow some form of blessing for same-gender relationships. Many do not. Although our church canons may not allow for discrimination against LGBTQ people, subtle and insidious discrimination still exists. In our society it is often not so subtle and sometimes filled with hate. In ninety-three countries it is still illegal to be gay. In seven of these it is punishable by death.There is much to be done before God’s reign is experienced by LGBTQ people the world over. Our calling is to continue to do the work, despite discouragement and set-backs. Our calling is to follow Jesus in his quest to bring all people regardless of color or sexuality or bank balance or physical ability into the reign of God. Holy Week reminds us that the work is not always easy or fun.

Easter reminds us that resurrection is the gift of God which always comes, because God is faithful. I thank you for your faithful witness to the incredible and unconditional love of God, and wish you and your beloveds a peaceful and joy-filled Easter.

With love in God’s service,

The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall

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