Lenten Devotional: Love and Service

by Guest Contributors

Today’s post is a reflection on Romans 8:38, and it comes from Izzy Alvaran, regional organizer with Reconciling Ministries Network.

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 Romans 8:38, and it comes from Izzy Alvaran, regional organizer with Reconciling Ministries Network.

For more about the Lenten Devotional, visit hrc.im/Lent.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I knew I was gay in fifth grade. I was born and raised in the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, where homosexuality continues to carry moral stigma, even if society is becoming generally more accepting of LGBTQ people. Knowing I was different worried me, especially when I decided to respond to the call to ordained ministry, also when I was in fifth grade.

The preacher at my United Methodist Church camp asked, “Who is being called to serve in the church?”

I stood up, making my intentions clear, but had this nagging question. Why would God call me to serve in a church that would not accept me for who I am? It haunted me from childhood to the day of my ordination.

My first appointment after ordination was to the same local church where I was baptized, which was no coincidence. On my first Sunday, I stood behind the pulpit holding the dusty baptismal record book of the church. I pointed to the page with my name on it and declared, “I was baptized in this church.”

At that moment, almost like a ray of light, God’s response to my childhood question was crystal clear. God brought me back to the place where I was baptized to affirm that I am God’s child, called to ministry. God walked me right out of my closet and into ministry in the church.

Often we think God is absent or silent. We long for answers to our lingering questions, sometimes doubting our relationship with God. I am sure Jesus had fears about carrying his cross and dying – even asking God to take this responsibility away from him.

The scripture for us today is clear.  Even in the face of adversity and trials, one thing is certain: there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

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.