This year for the season of Lent, HRC Foundation launched a campaign with the goal of telling the stories of LGBTQ people of faith. The Lenten season marks the days that lead up to Jesus' crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.
For Christians, the resurrection is both a reminder and celebration of life, yet people continue to suffer, including members of the LGBTQ community.
“A central and inspiring part of my ministry has been working to make sure the institutional church -- and religion in general -- is affirming and inclusive of LGBTQ persons,” said Reverend Dr. J. Edwin Bacon, author and reverend in the Episcopal Church. “I am a more joyful and faithful priest because of that part of my work.”
We hope the meditations offered every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter on April 16, will bless souls, revive spirits, renew minds and strengthen bodies. These stories will be hosted on the HRC website and on Twitter and Facebook.
During this holy season of Lent and as we regularly approach the Lord's Table, we ask God's forgiveness for the things we have done, and for the things we have left undone.
I am captured anew by the word - undone - in the midst of Lent. The word describes how we have felt in these post-election days.
We sing with the heart of God envisioned in Isaiah 5:4, "What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?" (5:4)
Pressing toward God's vision for beloved community embracing all people, we have carried hope. The dismantling of protections is frightening and disillusioning and deeply painful. We observe and mourn the regression that is hurtful to LGBTQ persons and their allies.
So let us, in Lenten perseverance, pray.
In prayer, let us hold before God all that we called progress, now in danger of being undone. May good seed yet germinate in good soil. In prayer, let us hold before God all yet to be realized and pray, Thy will be done. In prayer, let us hold before God LGBTQI persons who are diminished, dismissed and othered.
And, in Lenten observance, let us act.
Acting with courage, let us name God's call to inclusion of all LGBTQ persons in God's beloved community. Acting with conviction, let us live as Jesus lived among us, offering vigilant and expansive welcome in our homes and our churches and our judicatories. Acting with faithfulness, let us continue our efforts toward full inclusion, confident that the Holy Spirit is at work among us.
We have felt undone in these days. Lent is, for us, a time of weeping, of mourning all that is stalled, unfinished, resisted.
Therefore, we remember Psalm 126, praying for the present terrors to be overwhelmed with God's dream that is sure to come.
Do great things for us, Powerful and Loving God. Bring comfort and strength and peace to your people who seek to receive, live and share your dream. Help us live the way of Jesus, offering mercy and grace and love with humility and power. Fill this world with your Holy Spirit, bringing assurance to LGBTQ persons while invading closed spaces to change the hearts of the powerful.
Through the Triune God, we pray. Amen.
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church
The Lenten Devotional is a faith-filled resource that compiles meditations written by 47 faith leaders from across the United States. This project and other public education work with faith leaders in HRC Alabama, HRC Arkansas and HRC Mississippi is made possible in part by the generous support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.