Let's hear it for the drag queens!! Give it up for the bulldykes!! Can I get an "Amen!" for all those queers who, on a hot night in 1969 in New York City's Greenwich Village at the Stonewall Inn, took a stand and did their own stonewalling against police brutality and harassment!
Forty years ago, brave and bothered souls lit the wick on the candle of our crusade for civil rights. And we, today, remember that action as we commit to live into the legacy of demanding that we are treated equally under the law. In some states, the LGBT community enjoys protection of our relationships through marriage, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal. But those freedoms don't exist everywhere. Certainly not in Florida. And so, we fight on.
Interestingly, as I reflect on the gospel story read in church Sunday... I got a sense of where our LGBT community, at least in Florida, is at today. There was the story from the Gospel of Mark where the UNnamed woman who has been hemorrhaging pushes her hand through the crowd to touch the cloak of Jesus. Jesus notices that somebody in specific has touched him and seeks out who it was. His disciples, being their usual pedestrian selves, look at Jesus like he's a nut job (Hello, teacher?!?!? Haven't you noticed the crowd and you ask, 'Who touched me?'). But, of course, he's not a nut job; this woman is the demonstration of what it is to reach out to God as the last ditch stand to stop the pain, stop the bleeding. Not only does her action cure her, Jesus stops to find out who that was, so he can praise her for her faith in him (which is faith in God).
I believe this is very much like what the LGBT community in this state is seeking... especially post-Stonewall, post-Anita Bryant, post-Amendment Two. We keep wanting to reach out and touch the cloak of a Savior to stop the pain and the hurt and the trampling on of our self and relationships. We want the magic. But when we put our faith in earthbound leaders, there isn't the same magic. And when we put our faith in God and we don't think God answers because we didn't get the answers we want, we fall prey to the belief that God doesn't give a crap about gay people... a lie that some of the thieves of Christianity have been more than happy to feed and spread.
What I believe is true is that perhaps what we're asking of God is for God to do the one thing God won't do: choose sides in a fight. It's not that God chooses sides: God hears the cry of the authentic heart that seeks help. In the case of the UNnamed woman, what's in her heart as she reached out was: "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." There was an "If". Not a "When". She didn't really know if this latest attempt to cure herself of the bleeding was going to work. But she reached out any way, and thus the magic occurred because it was an act of faith that made her do it. And when Jesus felt that contact, he knew it was different than just the crowd pressing against him.
Perhaps, rather than reaching out to God in a way of seeking "my will be done", perhaps we would be best serve to seek out God with the knowledge that God's will is done... both on earth as it is in heaven. And can we trust that the will of God does include us?
Believe me, I don't think the rioters at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, were contemplating theology in the moment of their brave stand. And yet, I believe, their stand was a moment where the desperation of being brutalized finally led them to take a bold stand, a life-affirming stand, rather than retreat into the darkness of discrimination.
Here's to courage! Give it up for gumption! And can I hear an "Amen!" for a God who continues to be in the world nudging us along toward acceptance, and understanding.