Hello beloved friends,
I pray the day finds you well and understanding what God is calling you to do in this life. Understanding though is a difficult task even between us human beings, is it not? To explain, we assume everyone understands what we mean when we say, “the Lord’s Prayer.” But the truth is there is more than one version. Here at the FCC, we use the words “Debts and Debtors” along with the doxology. However, we do not always explain this tradition openly. And the Lord’s Prayer for someone who was raised in the Roman Catholic Church understands the prayer differently; for, they use the word “Trespass” without a doxology. And then, there are the souls who have never spoken the Lord’s Prayer and may not know what it means when they walk into our church for the first time. Yet, we assume that everyone understands the prayer, and the form of the prayer we are using.
I share this reality to highlight how easy it is to misunderstand one another, especially when one individual or group is speaking in coded language. Language that only the in-group understands. The same can be said throughout society. I am guessing most people do not know what “biters,” “grow-out bags, “Camel Case,” or a thousand other jargon words are when people use them every day in their careers.
Jargon though can also be in our habits and expectations in a group. We expect people to come to worship without pink bunny slippers on, to know that this group always meets at this time – on this day, that – EVERYONE – is truly welcome as they are; for they are a child of God. Yet, how do people know this truth unless they come in the door. How would anyone know that when we say Open and Affirming, we are including everyone. Yes, we are including all genders, expressions, and orientations of our society; but we are also including all races – all bodies regardless of ability – all children of God. How does anyone know unless we tell them?
Therefore, we are spelling it out to shed light on our distinct difference from the assumed jargon of Christianity. The jargon which says: “all are welcome but not as you are. No no, you have to change – be better – because we do not like you as you are.” This assumption of Christian jargon from the LGBT+ community is due to years upon years of hate and prejudice heaped upon anyone. Wait, no, on EVERYONE who is not considered “normal” by societal standards in the church. If you are in a wheelchair, people would say “no you cannot help the fund raiser because you’re disabled.” WE are saying “YES, you can. We will find a way.” For years, individuals would say “women cannot lead or teach in the sanctuary because it’s against the Bible.” WE are saying “YES, you can. We welcome your gifts, child of God.” For centuries, society has looked down on people in the LGBT+ community denying them full membership of God’s kin-dom because of a misunderstanding of ancient Biblical verses. A misunderstanding revealed repeatedly by a variety of pastors and theologians.
WE as a community, if the ONA passes, are saying “YES, you are a child of God. We see you and affirm you for who you are. We welcome your gifts. And to the rest of the world, by the way if you did not understand, we are saying THIS TRUTH is where we stand – not for any political movement or agenda. We stand for the LOVE of God which says ALL PEOPLE are God’s children. HE created each of us as we are. SHE reminds us to Love ALL people for who they are.” All jargon and assumptions aside, this understanding of God’s Love is what I feel we are called to share with the world; so, all people may truly find a safe and welcoming home to worship God.
I pray that on May 15th, you – each of you – will stand for what you believe in and how you see God’s Love operating through our fellowship. I pray you will stand openly and visibly even if you disagree or agree with ONA. For, it is only through open and honest voices will we be able to understand one another and live into what God is calling us to do.
May every day be an open reflection of God’s Love through you
Your pastor and teacher, Brian
Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.