So, coming upon the heels of a day when across this part of the United States, many priests were likely trying to do their best "calming the seas" sermons to keep "Anaheim anxiety" to a minimum, the Episcopal Church calendar brings us the lesser Fast and Feast of four "uppity" women. This was the day set aside for Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. Each of these women were bold. They sacrificed to aid in the struggle for freedom for the African slaves, and win women the right to vote. They faced ridicule for raising their voices, and yet many were flocking to hear what they were sharing. And, in the case of Sojourner Truth, she spoke of the Word from memory and her heart to black and white audiences.
Yesterday, I would imagine for many priests in the Episcopal Church, they found themselves in that position of facing possible ridicule from the masses, or at the very least, anger from some of the congregants who still find more assurance by living in their fears rather than trusting in their faith. Yet, they spoke the Word from memory or notes... and from their heart. And so it is to those priests, deacons, and other ministers who were willing to take a stand with their LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ that I think today's "lesser" saints day collect applies:
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servants Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, and Harriet. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.