What does it take to be bold, to be courageous? I mean as a Christian to boldly live out our faith in Jesus Christ who teaches us to respond to hate with love? I’ve been pondering this question the past few weeks, and I find the shooting in Orlando has rendered me speechless.
The hate crime hit me hard. Gay bars were our place of refuge in the days when I was closeted. Some of those murdered were not out to their families… until now, after their terrible deaths. The grief and outrage I experience this week has layers of depths, and spans a history of the gay liberation movement all the way to today, when I am proudly and openly and legally married to my wife. Yet the shock of violence reminds me of the fragility of justice against the power of fear and hatred.
So back to my question to you, dear church. What does it take to be bold, to be courageous, as Paul was in the early church? (Acts 28:31)
True Christian power does not look like worldly power. We are not armed with weapons. We are not full of rage and hate. We do not fear anything… except maybe in that holy fear of God (think of fear as “awe” here). The source of this Christian power is Christ, whom we know in prayer and in love. He teaches us to love our enemies.
Honestly, I’m tired this week of loving my enemies. I’m tired of loving the loud voices on the media. I’m tired of being aware and awake to my own wounded-ness as a broken soul, along with others in the LGBTQ community.
So I pray. Deep in the night when most of the world is sleeping. Those holy three hours after last call and before the dead were removed. In those wee hours I pray. And there is Jesus. And truly there is nowhere I would rather be, than in his loving embrace. So I weep and he comforts me. And I crawl back into bed and rise the next day ready to love my enemies, to pray for those who persecute me, to live boldly as the woman-loving-woman God created me to be. Every day, I will choose love over fear. Even on days when that is hard.
Please join me in seeking a bold response of gentle love in the face of fear and hatred. Come to our interfaith candlelight vigil on the common at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Introduce yourself to me, because I have not yet learned all your names. On Sunday morning, come to worship outdoors in our garden to break bread together and to hear stories of being bold, of being courageous, and of following Jesus no matter what. It is a good life, this Christian life to which we are called. It is not without suffering, I know. But God’s love is so big and precious and healing… You will be comforted. You are loved. You are a precious light to all the world. And together we are church, a community empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for welcoming me to serve you during this sabbatical season. Thank you for being the church. Your bold witness of love and justice gives hope to all the world.
Rev. Cindy Maybeck