|Rejoice & Come Forth!|
The Word of God according to St Paul:
As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Paul shared these words with us in his first letter to the Corinthian church. He pulled the phrases from the sacred Hebrew texts of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the composite work of Samuel. Originally, they called the Jewish people to refrain from the uncircumcised (Gentiles) and to return to their God from a state of disobedience. Paul echoed the words to command the early followers of Christianity to refrain from the worship of idols for they had a living God displayed before them incarnated in the God-man Jesus. The passages are filled with beautiful imagery of the relationship between the Divine and the human race and a call of reconciliation with one to the other. Words of love and familial relationship themes are echoed throughout the passage reminding the hearer they are not alone but chosen by God.
I believe great comfort can be found in this passage for one who find themselves to be outside the mainstream of sexuality or gender identity. Today is National Coming Out Day in the US. This is a national celebration or feast where we celebrate the diversity found in our communities and reaffirm the beauty and dignity or all human beings regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. It is a reminder that the human family is made up of many unique individuals and we are called to love one another and honor the God-given healthy expressions of sexuality that can be found in each.
For some the above passage would be used to "preach" at the LGBTQ individual as God-given proof they must forsake how they were born and "come out" of their evil ways. I believe the Spirit is guiding us to do the exact opposite. The Scripture is alive and constantly reflecting the love of God to each generation and we must be willing to follow where the Spirit wills to blow itself. In the last 30 years a great awakening or revival has occurred in the medical, psychology, and religious fields of undemanding sexuality and gender. We no longer live in ignorance of human sexuality. Therefore, we can no longer can use such ignorance to dismiss the validity of our gay brothers and sisters and their full value in this world and our faith communities. Just as we no longer interpret the Scripture to defend a flat earth or women as inherently and Biblically of less value, we can no longer use clobber passages to force the complete change of someones sexuality. That being said, it is time to see the beautiful passage above as a cry from God to embrace our true self and realize he is always father and mother of us all.
To my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and those who would choose to not identify as male or female, I ask you to hear these words as directed to us all:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
The Divine, God, who is love incarnate, is walking amongst us and represented in each of us in the queer community. He is the creator of us all, sexuality included, and we are his people. We are the children of God because no one is outside the human family and none could survive without Life which inexplicably continues to move us all forward. Due to the fact he walks with us, he now dares to ask of us:
“COME OUT (emphasis added) from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
Yes! God asks and blesses you to come out and separate yourself from a life of lies and hiding. The life of hiding in a closet requires one to walk in dishonesty, more often that not. It asks us to hide the ones we love, hurting them, and to hide the unique gift God has given us. The definition of "unclean" is to be morally defiled. In what world is the idea of hating oneself and hiding the ones they love walking in holiness? We are commanded to treat ourselves as temples of God. In the Old Covenant, when scientific understanding was minimal: certain mixed clothes were considered unclean, let alone sexuality that did not procreate children to a nation trying to survive. Those days have passed and, by God's grace, human understanding and knowledge has increased. We now must peer through the Scriptures with the fresh insight we have received. We must acknowledge it is not how a person loves that makes them dirty but rather dirt comes along when a person hides in fear of their ability to love.
A person forced to stay in the closet or to re-enter the closet in order to satisfy the hateful or doctrinal cravings of others is then truly touching unclean surfaces. The closet itself become unclean and forces a person, created in the image of God, to lie at every turn. Let us no longer preach nor believe these well-meaning but spiritually hurtful beliefs and dogmas.
Family: when we do come out of the closet, and decide to no longer live in the dirt of hiding, God promises to receive us! This applies to the LGBTQ person or the ally who stands up for human equality. The honest fact is he always has us in his hands, in or out of the closet, be he ultimately calls us to a life of joy, abundance, and honesty. It is time to separate ourselves from hatred, lies, dishonesty, and all things contrary to the perfect will of God who sends down every good gift to us, including our sexuality.
The Scripture ends, clearly speaking for itself:
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Celebrate you uniqueness in God this day and COME OUT!
Feast and celebrate for you are not alone!