Tomorrow is the PRIDE parade in Victoria, and I hope and pray it is full of joy in celebrating the great rainbow of people who are all beloved of God. Especially, given the threats of violence against PRIDE events this year, let’s all stand up and stand together against hate and for inclusion and diversity in our communities and the world. Happy PRIDE!
And acknowledging faith communities, including my own Lutheran Christian practise, have not, and in many instances still do not, stand up for the equal rights of Queer people, people of colour, of different abilities, and other minorities; we need to continue to make this our clear and public stance. To proclaim God’s good and wonderful creating of humanity in all our diversity and that all are equal and beloved before God and one another. This way of love for all was Jesus’ way. I believe to be followers of Jesus calls us to repentance for our failings past and present and to a new and hope-filled way of honouring and celebrating each person and diverse families as equals and working together for equity and justice for all. In one sense that “Happy PRIDE!” would also be “Holy PRIDE!”
And beyond walking or watching the PRIDE parade this or any year, we are called to be accountable to one another for greater inclusion and equity in all we say and do.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has had three task forces working since our last national gathering to address Racism; Transphobia, Biphobia, and Homophobia; and Ableism. The work has been challenging. And we owe great thanks to the diverse people involved in this hard work. The resulting reports about who we are as a church/faith community are difficult to receive and hear. They require a willingness to listen, to be open, to take appropriate responsibility for individual and systemic/structural prejudices and barriers against minority groups and do the important work of reforming who we are as a church for all people in God’s love for all people. I hope and pray this work will lead to substantive and continuing changes for the good of all.
PRIDE gives LGBTQ2SIA+ people, as well as people of colour and those differently able, a safe space to be proud and celebrate who they are as loved and loving people, rather than hiding in fear of hate and discrimination and violence. I hope and pray all those involved can be filled with PRIDE tomorrow and always.
And I recognize my church has a past and at times a continuing present for which I cannot be proud, because of failing to love as God loves, often rooted in fear and a different pride in ourselves apart from others. But working at, standing with, listening to, being opened, finding new ways together will, I hope and pray, lead us to sharing in a Happy PRIDE that is also the Holy PRIDE of God’s Spirit filling and moving and changing us together for good. Let it be so. In all our relations.
Rev. Lyle McKenzie is Co-Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Cross, UVic Multifaith Co-Chaplain and part time Assistant to the Bishop for Worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
You can read more articles on our interfaith website, Spiritually Speaking, HERE: https://www.timescolonist.com/blogs/spiritually-speaking
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, June 25th 2022