There have been a great many disappointments with this pandemic distancing and the closing of so many things. One of those was the decision made to cancel this year’s Pride Event here in Dunnville. It has been a gathering of people that I really appreciate and anticipate. It is a gathering grounded in love but also resistance to fear and hatred.
I say that while also acknowledging each of the Pride events has sadly featured a collection of protesters who do gather in fear, anger and hatred. But, that demonstration does, if nothing else highlight the need for Pride. It illustrates the anger, the hatred and suspicion that those who identify as LGBTQ2S plus must live with every day of their lives. That even as the laws are being implemented calling for equality the reality of life in our society is something very different.
It is a reminder that Pride was born in protest. In fact, it was born out of the Stonewall riots, which were trans women protesting police violence.
I set this out to say that as much as we enjoy gathering in celebration we need to remember and to acknowledge that at its core Pride is about resistance and solidarity. At its core is the knowledge people have been oppressed and continue to face violence and hate. Those of us who do not identify as LGBTQ2S plus must be careful to make sure we don’t in our large and enthusiastic numbers make the event about ourselves.
Today is also Trinity Sunday. Trying to explain the nature of the Trinitarian God, God in three persons, Creator, Redeemer and Spirit or Parent Child and Spirit can be a task. One can get caught up in the role of each person in that trinity. Or how they are related to one another. It can become incredibly detailed and confusing with words like modalism and immanence thrown around.
The discussion I have come to appreciate the most around the trinity is the recognition that in the end it is about relationship. God is in relationship; with God and with us. God so desires to be in relationship with creation that God comes, fully human in the person of Jesus. God so desires to be in relationship that the Spirit works in and through us to strengthen those bonds of love.
God is relationship and as such God is in our relationships. I would challenge us to reflect on what that means in our relationships.
In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul is urging a community struggling with disagreement and tension to put things right. To remember that Christ is within them. To agree with one another.
That is a difficult instruction. It can be used to paper over real differences in how we see the world. That language has often been used to silence genuine criticism. There should be no debate on where Jesus stands in regards to oppression. Let us not forget Jesus was executed by the state after being brutally beaten. Jesus offers forgiveness for those actions, but does not say his oppressors were right for doing what they did.
We are supposed to learn from those events. We are supposed to recognize the sin of oppression; the sin of state violence and resolve to be better. We are supposed to look at our past and see the sins of racism and white supremacy and homophobia and transphobia and the violence and bloodshed that results from that anger and fear and resolve to be better. To demand better.
Paul is calling us to be in agreement for a loving and just community. To agree that Jesus is within all of them and to act like it.
WE are witnessing a remarkable series of events right now, both in the United States and here in Canada. People are taking to the streets to demand an end to police violence. To demand that how we bring order and justice to our communities is fixed. If we believe that police violence is only a problem in the United States, we are kidding ourselves.
Just this past week a young native woman in New Brunswick was shot and killed by a police officer conducting a wellness check. As many commenters have stated she is reported to have threatened the officer with a knife. That isn’t good. But I struggle, I really struggle with the idea that that is enough to justify the taking of someone’s life. It was a wellness check. She wasn’t accused of a crime. It was to assure she was safe and healthy. We let violence be the answer to our problems far too often. We should expect and demand better of our society.
In April a 16-year-old native girl was shot and killed by police in Winnipeg. Apparently, she was in a car with a group of young people accused of robbing a liquor store. A dangerous car chase ended with shots fired and this young woman dead.
I don’t have any answers. I simply believe we must demand more and better.
I am a middle aged straight white man. In general, my journey through life has been blessed by safety and prosperity. I have been able to assume for the most part that communities are structured to care for me and assure me a measure of stability and protection. That is not the case for far too many. If I tried to list the groups that have not enjoyed that stability and protection I would be sure to miss a few, I have no doubt.
In far too many instances people of colour and people on the LGBTQ2S plus spectrum have either not felt protected or at worse felt attacked by the institutions we presume are there to offer protection. They have not felt welcomed or included in places of worship that proclaim to places of love and community. When we strive to build and maintain a loving relationship, we need to also acknowledge the harm, we as a community and an institution, have done in the past and perhaps currently. WE need to take time to be silent and listen and then to work in cooperation with those we love to build something new that gives voice to those we have too often silenced.
Remember it is not just about us. In the end it is about God; about Jesus the Christ, about the Spirit and how we find Jesus s in those we are in relationship with.
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