People look to their faith as a source of guidance and inspiration – and LGBTQ people and our family and friends are no different. Throughout the Lenten season, HRC will share devotionals from faith leaders, LGBTQ people and allies. The campaign seeks to create an environment in which LGBTQ people of faith and their allies can practice the spiritual traditions of their faith in a welcoming, inclusive environment.
The Lenten season marks the days that lead up to Jesus' crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.
For Christians, the resurrection is both a celebration of life and a reminder that people continue to suffer, including members of the LGBTQ community.
It is important to note that the season of Lent is an observance of many Christian denominations and may not resonate with all readers. Throughout this series, HRC seeks to amplify and honor the voices of LGBTQ-affirming faith leaders in many religious traditions.
Today’s post featured below comes from Khizr Khan, a patriotic American Muslim and Gold Star Father, from Charlottesville, Virginia. For more about the Lenten Devotional, visit hrc.im/Lent.
"Do not lose hope, nor be sad." -Qur'an 3:139
We were created for community. One God, one family, one purpose -- to share in the spiritual experience of human connection. One of the plethora of ways we can connect and empathize this holy Christian period of Lent is through fasting. Reflecting on the similarities between Lent and Ramadan, fasting, as a religious discipline, binds all of us as one human family and one purpose only -- to increase our consciousness of God.
God does not expect us to navigate life alone. Being alive is about learning and loving, loving and caring, caring and supporting, supporting and encouraging each other. But love for others needs to be anchored in God's love. Just as narrated in 1 Samuel 16:7, Abu Hurairah, a prolific narrator and companion of Prophet Muhammad, narrated the prophet saying, “God looks at your hearts [and deeds].”
Yet, in our present world, much is made of the differences that exist between us. We are divided by fear, fear that can be eradicated through relationship. Whether we are LGBTQ or heterosexual or cisgender… whether we are Christian or Muslim or Jewish, each of us is called to live in community, in harmony, in unity. We must not allow intolerance, unjust policies, immoral bans or divisive walls to shift our focus. We must not allow misguided interpretations of religion and faith to cause us to hang our heads in shame, hide the truth of who we are or demonize us for what we believe. We must stand together in solidarity because both the Qur’an and the Bible uplift and sustain the sanctity and dignity of human life.
As many pray, fast and reflect for Lent, even in the darkest of days, know that you never walk alone. God is with you. God is present in the kind words of a stranger. God is present in the non-judgmental eyes of a child. God is present in the affection of a lover. And God is also present outside of religious institutions.
May Allah, God of Abraham, bless us and bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Help us become one in Your name. Ameen
The Lenten Devotional is a faith-driven resource that compiles meditations written by 47 faith leaders from across the U.S. This project and other public education work with faith leaders in HRC's Project One America states and HRC's Religion and Faith Program is made possible in part by the generous support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.