Pride Month Questions to Ponder
Recently, we made a revision to our Reconciled in Christ statement. It now reads:
As a Reconciling in Christ congregation of the ELCA, we believe that the gospel is God's gift to all people, shared unconditionally and without regard to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, socio-economic or family status, age, physical or mental abilities, outward appearance, or religious affiliation. We seek racial equality and justice. In this way, we live into the truth written in Ephesians (2:14)—that Christ breaks down the dividing walls between us and makes us one.
A few questions for us to ponder:
How could we not welcome all who come seeking Christ (whether they articulate it this way or not)? We are not gatekeepers of the means of grace. It’s not our job to judge worthiness; that is arrogating to ourselves what belongs to God.
What does it mean to welcome? Lots of places of worship proclaim All Are Welcome. But because of sin and just simple human ignorance, many people have an experience that is anything but welcoming. They experience in others’ body language, words, phoniness, and in so many other ways. Every church thinks they are friendly and welcoming. And to each other they are. But to a newcomer or a stranger? Maybe not so much. For people like us, who are proclaimers of grace and dispensers of the means of grace, the question is, “How might we be even more welcoming?”
Why in the world do we need to publish our RIC statement? Isn’t it sad–scandalous even–that not everyone in the whole world just assumes that we who follow Christ believe the Gospel is God’s gift to all people? And that we are living into the life-giving, loving relationships of the Holy Trinity? And that we are, naturally, seeking racial equality and justice? And so, for people like us who belong to the Triune God, the question is, “What do we have the capacity to do at this time and in this place to seek racial equality and justice?”
Why does there need to be a Pride Month? Think about that. Think about the suicide rate of people who don’t fit social norms. Think about the people who judge they must always be on guard, who can never relax outside their home (or maybe even inside it). Think about those who go through life knowing they are being watched with suspicion, judged, etc. and the Martin Luther question for us is, “How can we be little christs for each other?”
Lastly, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to ask these questions? Alas, we live as sinners in a fallen world. And so we remind ourselves of the truth of the Gospel and the reality of who our God really is. And we are inspired to move forward.
Pr. Mark Walters