Sack Cloth & Ashes

Palm Sunday has come and we are still in Lent. A symbolic crying out for all that is broken in ourselves and the world. As the body of Christ, we the Church participate in the mourning together. We are united. One baptism, the consummation of the sacraments, serving God in Christ through the mission of the Church. Our souls weep and lament with deep reflection. In full confidence and understanding we know the resurrection has already wiped every tear from our eyes. No longer wallowing we have life anew, in abundance and joy there will be a time to rightfully shout and claim “Hallelujah!” Easter is such a time for it reminds us of our promise and salvation. The love of God through Christ has a strong presence on Easter Sunday. The Church is reminded that God is love and God calls us to love one another. Such is a force that creates unity enabling communities to be formed, strengthened and re-formed again.

I long for the Easter Sunday when the church has caught up to the inclusive liberating resurrection that already is. The resurrection is the ultimate manifestation of Gods love to creation. It is a love that frees from bondage, it is an abundant love that flows with hope. Through our faith, it is the justification of our salvation. Glory be to the resurrection! Glory be to Christ! Now truly God’s will can be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s unfathomable love brings heaven and we celebrate Easter morning because we know heaven has come.

In church it is frequently heard, “We need love.” It is a trite important phrase, but I also wonder about those who already have it. For some of us who have love, how many of us can practice it without condemnation? The LGBTQ community is denied participation and celebration in our church regarding love. Christ’s resurrection also celebrates what is so often referred to as “their concept of love.” Whenever I hear such rhetoric my heart breaks a little. Love is simply love. God’s love manifested between two people how ever they self-identify is universal. By condemning same gendered couples to marry, does the church not also realize that it has condemned love? The message literally being sent within the four walls and evangelized to the world is, “As a denomination, we find your loving of another human being to be sacrilegious and a sin.”. The LGBTQ community are the only people group within the PC USA who aren’t allowed to marry, whose love is considered a sin. Why does the church wonder why few people are attracted to the pews on Sunday morning? Imagine how families with LGBTQ parents feel, imagine how their children feel. The impact of that theology is so incredibly spiritually abusive to LGBTQ children and teenagers, driving some to even commit suicide.

Easter morning when I reflect on Christ’s resurrection, I already know in my heart that the church’s condemnation of LGBTQ love is still trumped by Christ. Love wins, period. However, in that righteous self-empowerment I will remain in a symbolized Lent, clothed in sack cloth and powdered with ashes. For the church has still yet to recognize that Christ’s resurrection applies to LGBTQ persons too, so our hallelujah’s remain silenced.

You can learn more about Annanda Barclay at our MLP Movement Authors page. All her posts can be found here.

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