Lenten Devotional from HRC Senior Faith Organizer Denise Donnell

by Guest Contributors

This year for the season of Lent, HRC Foundation launched a campaign that aims to tell the stories of LGBTQ people of faith.

This year for the season of Lent, HRC Foundation launched a campaign that aims to tell the stories of LGBTQ people of faith. The Lenten season marks the days which 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 the 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.

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.

1 Samuel 16:7

“…God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (MSG)

My heart hurts.

My soul aches.

My spirit grieves…daily as I sit in committee meetings of the 91st General Assembly of the Arkansas Legislature.

People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer are under attack.

I don’t fit into any of these boxes.

Still, my soul weeps for my sisters and brothers, particularly so for the transgender woman of color. Unequivocally, she is the most vulnerable, the most neglected member of our Human Family.

I confess.

I’m not engaged in the political process because I am an ally to the LGBTQ community.

I am concerned about every step politicians make because

I am Black.

I am a Woman.

I am from the South.

When people, especially lawmakers, take a stab at LGBTQ persons, I feel the knife in my own back.

The same reason hatred toward the LGBTQ community permeates our society is the same reason racism is allowed to thrive---fear. Fear of us based on how we look, who we are, whom we love.

The same can be said about Muslims, Immigrants, the Unsheltered, the Poor, the Differently Abled.

The dominant culture creates a world to be run and enjoyed by the dominant while being served by the dominated.

Some of them have the audacity to declare themselves Christian. They aren’t. The Bible is clear on that.

If we truly love people the way Christ teaches us to love, we would look beyond physical differences.

We would listen to the beats of other hearts.

We would seek to understand another’s thoughts and beliefs while building authentic relationships with them.

We would look into each other’s eyes and see God’s reflection.

This kind of world---a world rooted in love, directed by love---a world in which people live for love is the world we are called to imagine, create, demand.

The reflective season of Lent offers us the opportunity to pray not for the realities of this world, but for what will be…because we make it so.

Gracious God, teach us how to pray, trusting by faith that whatever we ask in Your name shall come to pass if we believe it then work for it. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Denise Donnell

Senior Faith Organizer

Human Rights Campaign