by Nate Crary
There is a song in the new All Creations Sings (ACS) hymnal that I just love called, “God, We Gather as Your People” (ACS 1038). I find the lyrics in the third stanza, written by local church musician and activist David Lohman, to be especially meaningful:
Oh, we pray for all the young lives cut short by fear and shame,
so afraid of who they are and whom they love.
May the message now be banished that your love is for the few;
may their faith in you renew.
June is PRIDE month and is a time to celebrate the fullness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) community. As people of faith, we can expand our knowledge and imagination to provide the best hospitality possible in our community.
It is not that difficult to notice how our worship life at Christ the King / Cristo Rey reflects this expansive love for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions considering much of our traditional hymnody, prayers, and holy scriptures already express Christ’s message of radical love for all of God’s wonderfully diverse creation. Throughout PRIDE month we are also using liturgical language developed from Reconciling Works which advocates for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of LGBTQIA+ Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community.
I wonder what new things we can learn about or try this month as a faith community to continue to make clear God’s expansive and inclusive welcome to long-time churchgoers, first-time visitors, and everyone in between. Here are some of my ideas:
As with any song we sing on Sunday mornings, my hope is that the lyrics, with God’s help, become reality. May it be so as we sing the refrain from “God, We Gather as Your People”:
Oh, may our hearts and minds be opened,
fling the church doors open wide.
May there be room enough for ev'ryone inside.
For in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong.
May that welcome be our song.