Today we celebrate two important dates for us: one as the People of God, we receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit remembering how among Spirit descended over disciples of Jesus and filled their souls with the certainty and the Love of God. The other date is the International Day against Homophobia, held in a couple of days, and has to do with issues of social justice, human rights and awareness of the suffering of hatred and rejection experienced by millions of sisters and brothers worldwide.
In the Bible story of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit comes in the form of tongues of fire that landed on Jesus’ disciples. With the inspiration of fire of the Holy Spirit, the disciples began to tell their stories, and people of all nations heard them, in their own language. Pentecost honors the Holy Spirit, an important aspect of God for LGBT people and our allies. We welcome fluidity of gender and the Spirit and the ongoing work for a change in the church.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and our allies recognize the work of the Spirit when churches begin to embrace members of the LGBT community, bless same-sex marriages, ordain openly LGBT clergy, and teach radically liberating theology.
Romans 8:12 reminds us all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God and we have not received a spirit that slave to fear, but God's Spirit when God adopted us as God’s own children, so we are heirs with Christ to the glory of God. And so in today’s Gospel (John 14:15) Jesus asks God to give the disciples the Holy Spirit, the One with us.
We could also tell our stories. We have the gift of peace and we should not be troubled or afraid. So let us tell the best stories. Let us educate children in our family or neighborhood, let us sensitize parents of LGBT children. Let us not be part of those who discriminate through silence, not knowing the gifts God may have given so many people to the glory of his church! We do not decide for God!
And if we do not know how to talk to homophobes and how to tell stories, ask, for that is what we’re here for, to assist you in such tasks, to help you speak, to provide you with materials and resources. You might not know yet whether you have a prophetic gift, dreams and visions like Jesus refers, but I have news for you: you may well have them, you have them because even in spite of what you went through as you were growing up in your churches, in spite of being taught how to reject or how to accept rejection, you’ve come a long way. Now you perhaps you know about the vision and the love of God including us all, and about God having a dream of love for all… and you are part of that dream!
Only without fear you can go out and tell your story. Speak about what God has done in your life, about how he has blessed you and you now believe you are proud of being God’s child, whether gay, bi or else. Speak about how proud you are to say: “God loves me as I am, with my sexuality and all, and God created me the way I am, and so God did the same with you, with your children and your neighbors”.
We need to stop fighting between the churches, fighting homophobes and all those who condemn us. Just like a few days ago outside the Campeche State Congress, some religious fanatics gathered that day the law allowed same-sex marriage was approved, and so when the gay crown came out of the hall they warned they "will rot in hell" and so the gay people replied with equal hurting phrases. No, we can not respond the same way. We can reply in three different ways:
Do not stay quiet, silent. Do not fear homophobes, for they are our brothers and sisters too! Just speak up, state and declare that God is in you, that Jesus never spoke a word against you, for Jesus radical ministry, if it happened today, would surely include trans people, you, gay folks, transgendered brothers and sisters… minorities as in Jesus time, still ostracized and abused. Bear witness to all the wonders that God has done in your life! Be smart in how you speak… stating the truth, in Spirit, your truth.
Also respond setting an example —not returning insult for insult. Let the world know the joy inside you, the joy that comes from being Christian and Diverse. Don't let them spoil that joy. Don’t let them see you upset... Why getting upset anyway? Sure you can fight homophobia, sharing with other brothers and sisters, helping, volunteering in many cases they need you, you can speak your truth clearly. — Jesus never suppressed his words to say everything he needed to say. But Jesus never insulted. We're quite divided already as to continue breaking each other apart even more. Those who insult us… are our brothers and sisters too! The only thing that happens is that they are not informed, they ignore the truth and act upon their own prejudice and lack of information So dare to become yourself the bearer of truth they
need to know so they can be in a better position to welcome the Spirit and be free!
Reply praying for them, because so much hatred is poisoning their own lives and they don't know it! Sadly, they might have even forgotten we are family. Yes, they may be plotting revenge against you, talk behind your back or in front of you, secretly stab you, destroy your reputation, setting traps... you name it, you know all their homophobic tricks, you’ve lived with them some time in your life. However, they are not being guided by God!... that is obvious. Now, hold on a moment— who is in control of everything? Who is in control of your life? God!! Who has the answer for all this? God! And what do you think God is asking from you? Think about it… God may be asking you not to stop praying for them. They are being led by the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. Confront the enemy with prayer. So when you are amid a situation where someone speaks ill about diversity, gay Christians, inclusive believers, LGBT people… do not let the lie stand there: talk, give your truth, the truth: God loves us all, there are no distinctions!! You can talk and remain in peace, as this is the gift that Jesus gave us, the enemy can not give us that gift. So do not panic or be afraid. And if you do not know what to say, ask God, ask the Holy One, to give you a hint on what to say.
We need to pray for homophobes and their victims. We need to pray realizing we are not going to change this horror story, but God will. We need to pray with compassion for the suffering of everyone involved. Talk to us, God, not only so you can touche our hearts but to help us touch other hearts. Talk to us so we can become the voice for those that still remain silent… Let your Spirit descend upon each of us and make us speak in the tongue and language that everyone needs to hear, and they become amazed, but not at us, but at Thy Name, acknowledging that You are behind, You're in charge!
'Then this humanlike figure touched me again and gave me strength. He said, ‘Don’t be afraid, friend. Peace. Everything is going to be all right. Take courage. Be strong.’ “Even as he spoke, courage surged up within me. I said, ‘Go ahead, let my master speak. You’ve given me courage.’’ --Daniel 10:19
Dearest God, give us the courage to do everything we need to do. With such strength we can feel more confident and let you speak. Amen.