29 July 2009

Inspired by GLBT Candidates for Ordination

I was utterly blessed this past weekend by the privilege of living and worshipping with about twenty gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (and yes, every single one of these widely different possibilities were present) Presbyterians called to ministry. All are heading to, currently studying in, or have graduated from theological seminary. All are at some point in the long process of Being Under Care of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, moving toward examination, acceptance of a call, and ordination to the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament.

At the same time, being with these bright and faithful GLBT folk — mostly but not all, pretty young — is utterly heartbreaking in the wake of the defeat of Amendment 08-B in the PCUSA. The church came so close to opening the way for them to finally be considered on their merits just like other people.

And still, close is no cigar. Close continues to mean severe decisions between forsaking one’s friends by remaining closeted in order to satisfy the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, or coming out to the Committee and risking the painful possibility that he or she may be stalled in their response to God’s call.

Jesus weeps at the failure of the church to care for its children. And yet these tortuous calculations continue to be forced upon some of the church’s best minds and hearts.

And being with these loving spirits is so utterly uplifting and inspiring. Worship with them is so wonderfully, awesomely creative. We did the Presbyterian thing with words: Scripture, interpretation, spoken prayers of confession and intercession and benediction. But we also studied and prayed in the ways familiar to many in our younger generation— we danced and fell on our knees and sang and played the roles of the disciples and people and children in the text. As we wait for the church, we commissioned ourselves for ministry, supporting one another in our journeys of faith and work.

But this commissioning was not the first step toward ministry for these GLBT folk. All of them are already engaged in meaningful service, both paid and voluntary, caring for people inside and outside the church. This commissioning was a confirmation of their choices to get on with ministry while the church slogs its way to the place where Jesus will greet it because He is there now and has been there all along, embracing and sending forth as disciples these GLBT children.

Jesus shouts for joy at the praise and prayers and service of His beloved GLBT disciples.

It was such an honor to witness their stalwart faithfulness!

Reverend Janet

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