Hello to all of my friends in Christ and all of my friends of goodwill of many faiths. We’re here on the last day of Pride Month. And I wanted to take a moment to address all of my LGBTQ+ family members.
I want you to know that one of the most profound convictions in my heart, based on Holy Scripture, what I read in Scripture and hear in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, is that all of us—every human child of God—is made in the image of God with infinite value and worth, and that is not decreed by any government. It is decreed by almighty God. In Genesis chapter 1, God made human beings in God’s image and likeness. I believe that is true for all of us.
I’m mindful that this is a difficult time for our LGBTQ+ family and siblings, for my friends. More than 70 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been enacted so far this year. And this morning’s Supreme Court decision will only add pain and difficulty.
In particular, we have seen our transgender siblings targeted. And if you are among them, I want you to know and remember that you are created by God, in the image of God, and that is God decreed.
This may feel like a moment of difficulty and darkness, and it is. And yet the work goes on. Our commitment to you as a church is unswerving.
I believe deep in my soul that God is always seeking to create a world and a society where all are loved, where justice is done, and where the God-given equality of us all is honored in our relationships, in our social arrangements, and in law.
This is a difficult time. I am mindful of another difficult time, in the 19th century, in the midst of the struggle—once again for human dignity and equality—in the midst of the struggle to bring chattel slavery in America to an end; in the midst of a century where this nation entered into a civil war; in the midst of a time when the Mexican American war was tearing much of the country apart.
In that context, James Russell Lowell penned a poem, part of which speaks of the cross as a scaffold. And he said this:
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong. Though her portion be a scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong, yet that scaffold sways the future. And behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you his peace. May the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be on you and remain with you and the entire human family, and all of God’s creation—this day and forevermore.
God love you.