Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Chosen Generation

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2.9 (New King James Version)

The Best of Times

Today is the best day ever in GLBT history. But we won’t remember it as such, because tomorrow will be even better. The gay rights saga is defined by progress. Even our hardest struggles—inequality, homophobia, AIDS, violence, substance abuse, etc.—have contributed to our advancement. They've united us, raised our profile, won us invaluable allies, and created momentum that steadily continues to change society. If not yet the best of all possible worlds, it’s still the best of times for GLBT people.

The enormous strides we’ve made as a community now enable us to make inroads in places and institutions that largely resisted accepting openly gay people—adoption agencies, marriage rosters, and the military, for example. Regrettably, the church also goes on this list. While politicians and pundits fume and fuss about these other “issues,” however, a quiet revolution is underway in the halls of faith

As God’s Spirit opens hearts and minds like never before, GLBT believers stand on the forefront of an earthshaking movement. If we seize this moment with our compassionate straight sisters and brothers, what we achieve together will overflow sanctuary walls and spill into the world at large. There’s been no greater time for GLBT individuals to follow Jesus.

Early Church Parallels

A perceptive divinity student could write his/her thesis on parallels between what’s occurring in open, affirming congregations and the Early Church. In his first epistle, Peter urged his readers to realize their potential and responsibility for establishing Christ’s New Order. The religious majority had rejected Jesus in no uncertain terms. They stumbled terribly through ignorance and hard-hearted legalism. That’s why God chose a new generation to speak through and claim for His own—a people beholden to Him through personal experience and intimate knowledge of His life-changing power. The similarities between then and now are too obvious to need drawing out.

Look at Us Now!

Paraphrasing Peter as he continues in verse 10, what he says to 1st-century Christians has tremendous resonance for 21st-century GLBT believers: “Once you were nobodies prevented from receiving mercy; now you’re people of God with full access to His mercy.” That’s how God sees us; that’s how we must see ourselves. He called us from our darkness of shame, denial, and obscurity to stand, fully seen in His marvelous light. Without a doubt, we are a chosen generation. What we choose to do from there is entirely on us. 

God has chosen us for this time and place, to join our welcoming brothers and sisters, realizing our potential and responsibility as followers of Christ.

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