Finally: or, the day Isaiah promised
Finally, finally, finally.
We are laughing, we are crying, we are singing, we are dancing in the streets. It is Pride weekend and we finally, finally, finally have won marriage equality for same-gender relationships in every state in America.
This is a day centuries in waiting. This is a day I wasn’t sure I’d see in my lifetime, and here it is. The exhale of a million long-held breaths is like the sound of the Holy Spirit.
This is the day the prophet Isaiah promised, telling those with no family to sing as if they had a hundred children, offering love and redemption to those who had too long carried fear, shame, discouragement, and disgrace.
We will celebrate well this weekend.
Yet many voices remind us that there is much more work to be done. Jennicet Gutiérrez’s interruption of President Obama’s LGBT reception has re-drawn attention to the oppression of trans women of color who are imprisoned or detained in American cells. Nine trans women of color have been murdered in 2015 alone. LGBT children and teens still comprise 40% of the homeless youth population, many cast out from hateful families and shunned by friends and churches. Thousands of open or closeted LGBT people will hear today, from family and friends and coworkers and peers and even church leaders, that the Supreme Court’s decision is one more American backslide into perdition.
Nation-wide rights to marriage ends one part of legal discrimination; it does not end the cultural, societal, religious, and interpersonal hatred many of us face each day.
So the question is: what do we do now? A person of faith might say: Where is God calling us now?
Today’s ruling has only legal effect; it changes nothing about religious practices of barring same-gender couples from marriage. But there is something glorious and godly in it yet. The good news of the long arc of history that bends toward justice is the good news of a just and loving God.
This is the day the prophet Isaiah promised. This is the day of rebuilding.
We have been torn down. We, the LGBT community, have been gripped and pulled and ripped apart by those who opposed us, by strangers and family alike, who claimed we had no place in the law or in the house of God or even the world. We have lived in legal and religious exile. But God has been calling us back, relentlessly, pleadingly, fighting through the crowds of hate to offer a word of hope.
And today, the foundation for our house has been laid. We have been afflicted and storm-tossed, and today, we see a foundation laid with silver and sapphire, towers of rubies and gates made of precious stone. We are being made a city shining for all to see. We are a promise: we are God’s yes, yes, yes to hope and work and resurrection. That which seemed impossible is possible. That which seemed far off is near.
This is the day the prophet Isaiah had promised. This is the day when the Lord cried out, Have you no money? Come, buy, eat. I want to feed you far better than hatred and fear ever can.
Let us learn from the stones that built this foundation. Let us remember the lessons we learned as we fought for marriage equality state by state; as we had the hard conversations with friends and family when we declared our own unalienable rights; as we saw the tide begin to turn, the low roll of waves of acceptance. We can bring these lessons to greater work. We can take what has built the foundation of this house — dedication, hope, a powerful belief in justice — and continue the fight for our brothers and sisters. We can reduce homelessness among LGBT youth. We can see trans health care covered by insurers and doctors. We can examine our own relationships and root out abuse, addiction, codependency, and all other toxicity that has crept in from the hatred we lived in each day.
And if we are people of faith, let us too learn from the stones that built this foundation. Let us remember that the lies we are told by family and society and supposedly loving Christians do not tame the God who is pursuing us in madly irrational hope. Let us hear the voice of God who says I gather the outcasts, even more than you can count. We can find our home in the house of God again. We can believe that there is a place for us, that a loving God is beating down each door and wall in the passionate hope that there will be space for all. We can raise up the voices of faithful LGBT Christians, hearing the voices of the prophets in our midst, calling us home.
We can do this. Whether we were brought here today by the spirit of a just and loving God or the hard work of thousands of LGBT people who believed in a better future or (as I suspect) a gracious overflowing of both, we have come this far by a powerful faith. We have all believed in something, together. We have more work to do, but look at how far we have come; we already know we can do more.
Where is God calling us now? To build on the foundation; to rebuild the house of God, a house of prayer for all people. There will be peace, and food, and joy enough for all. And the house of God, which once was a boundary between, will be a home for everyone.
Finally, our work is done.
Finally, our work can begin.
This summer I’ve joined up with Voices in the Wilderness, a blogging collective empowering Christian writers to impact the world. You can find more posts like this at http://www.viwcollective.com/ .