People -- including the LGBTQ faithful -- look to their faith as a source of guidance and inspiration. 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 leading 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 observed by many Christian denominations and may not resonate with all readers. With this series, HRC seeks to amplify and honor the voices of LGBTQ-affirming faith leaders in many religious traditions.
Today’s post is a reflection on Ruth 1:16-17a, and it comes from J.J. Warren, a certified candidate for ministry in the United Methodist Church denied full certification because of Warren’s queer identity.
For more about the Lenten Devotional, visit hrc.im/Lent.
Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die --
there will I be buried.
Lent today is not all that different from the first Lent more than 2,000 years ago. We still grapple with economic imperialism. We are still torn by interreligious strife and apathy. Marginalized people are still harmed by those in power, and God’s presence is still silenced in those who don’t reflect the majority. In many ways, Lent today is exactly like that first Lent.
Within these circumstances, a powerful woman of color provides guidance for us. Ruth, a Moabite (a tribe excluded from the people of God by law), declares her love for and devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi: “Where you go, I will go … Where you die, I will die.”
As a queer United Methodist, my denomination recently reinforced its ruling that I am excluded from serving the people of God. Still, I follow the wise prophets who have tread this path before me. Where they go, I will go; and when they grow weary of fighting, I will sacrifice myself for the justice they pursued.
Struggling to stay in a faith that rejects us is the Lenten story. Ruth reminds us that no matter how difficult the terrain ahead, we are in this together. We will journey toward justice, and we won’t cease until we’ve reached the Promised Land.
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.