Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A "must read" from Mississippi

I Have a Dream
Sermon preached by the Rev. Ed Lundin
August 23, 2009
St. Thomas, Belzoni and Chapel of the Cross, Rolling Fork

Forty-six years ago this week (August 28, 1963), Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greatest orators and leaders of the twentieth century delivered his “I Have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His words inspire me to this day. I also have a dream: a dream about full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life, ministry and worship of the churches I serve and the Episcopal churches in Mississippi.

Why am I moved to state my dream now? Our bishop, Duncan Gray, is on record as stating that exclusionary practices toward ordination of homosexual persons will not change during his episcopacy. There are no changes on the horizon, unless the Holy Spirit moves us, as a church, to change. I felt the call to share my hopes and dreams about the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church before, but I kept waiting until “the time was right.”

The immediate catalyst for this vision arrived at the Fourth Annual Retreat of Ministry with Gays and Lesbians in Canton, Mississippi, this weekend. The retreat leader, The Rev. Dr. Ruthanna Hooke, opened our session by assuring us that we are all in “a safe place.” I realized through comments made by gays and lesbians in attendance that there were many places where they did not feel safe. I thought, “that’s what the church should be: a safe place, where all can experience the love of God with peace and acceptance. That’s what the churches in Belzoni (St.Thomas) and Rolling Fork (Chapel of the Cross) are, ‘safe places’ where all are welcome.”

My dream emerges from personal experience and deeply held beliefs, which I will set forth. I realize, however, that others have experiences and beliefs which differ from mine, so I share this dream to invite conversations in the quest for Christ’s love in the midst of disagreement and dissent.

I want to establish the perspective on inclusion of gays and lesbians through a poem by Edwin Markham* (see endnote):

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.

Read the rest here ... and give thanks for prophetic voices preaching the Good News of God's inclusive love to ALL God's beloved human family!

1 comment:

Mitchell said...

This idea of inclusion is wrong. What is meant by inclusion is just the Gay lobby getting its way in the Episcopal church.

The author of this article mentions safe church's this is funny because conservative Aligicans use the same term when they refer to their own church's.

Bias towards one group is prejudice towards another.