15 March 2010

Lent: day 23

I find hope in the wilderness.... one step at a time.

The wilderness of discrimination and prejudice can seem like a place of endless despair. The only way I can journey through that wilderness is to hold onto my faith in God, the hand of my brother and sister, and take it one step at a time. The journey toward ordination for our GLBTQ members has felt like a journey through the wilderness and I only began the journey 14 years ago! The disappointment at General Assembly after General Assembly is difficult to bear. But in those moments I have found that there is a community of grace and love holding one another, bearing one another's burden, helping each one to stand and take another step. Those who have been working for ordination far longer than I are a pillar of fire that lead and inspire us to persevere.

But the greatest source of hope I find in the wilderness is in the eyes of those who are waiting for the church to change. One of those people is my brother. My brothers and I grew up in a conservative Presbyterian home where homosexuality was condemned and often made fun of. This became even more so when my brother told our parents that he was gay. The way to deal with his news was to use Scripture as a weapon and to ridicule homosexuality while pushing him to date girls. He was never supposed to talk about it or say anything to his brothers and me.

Imagine my brother's surprise when he learned that my husband and I were supportive of the gay community and supported the work of groups like MLP, The Witherspoon Society, and Presbyterian Welcome. It was if my brother had found an oasis in the wilderness. He told me his story of rejection by our parents. He introduced me to his partner of more than 20 years, who until then was never seen or spoken of. He shared with me the pain of feeling not completely welcome in the Church - even in congregations that say they support ordination of gays, but because of the Book of Order they refuse to ordain. He talked about how much he hoped for a day when he could feel unconditionally loved in the Church. Even as I saw his hope, I became a source of hope for him that one day the Presbyterian church would understand and change. God's restorative love touched us as we grew into a new understanding of one another; our relationship renewed. The hope in his eyes, mixed with pain, speaks volumes and has encouraged me to keep on, one step at a time, teaching, encouraging and supporting until that day when all may freely serve! May it be soon, gracious God, may it be soon

The Rev. Sue Trigger
co-pastor First Presbyterian Church
Rockaway, NJ

1 comment:

newnana said...

A great comment! Very moving. Oh, that the Church would say "God made them/us all"